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Law Harms Kids
November 1, 2006 permalink
The article below announces a new law in Alberta allowing the children of drug traffickers and manufacturers to be seized. It quotes scientific research without a citation to justify the actions.
In 1998 Florida scientists Kathleen Wobie and Marylou Behnke compared the development of children born to drug-addicted mothers when cared for by fosters or mothers. The babies in maternal care did better. There is a summary by journalist Melanie Frindl Ross on the web. If the article below was scientifically accurate, the headline would be "Law Harms Kids".
Law protects kids
By LANA MICHELIN
Oct 30 2006
Children who live in homes where street drugs are manufactured or trafficked can be taken immediately into the protective custody of Alberta Children’s Services.
This is the essence of a new Alberta law called the Drug-endangered Children Act, which takes effect on Wednesday. It defines children who live in drug houses as abused and allows social workers to take swift action to remove them from dangerous circumstances.
“There’s no question these kids are at risk,” said David Horricks, executive director of Parkland Youth Homes. He supports the legislation but wonders why a new law was needed. Shouldn’t children of drug traffickers be protected under the existing Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act, questioned Horricks.
The difference is that the new law gives social workers broader scope to take action, said Catherine Pohl, a manager at the Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority.
While much assessment might be needed before children can be removed from some situations under existing laws, the new legislation ensures social workers “can act quicker and more decisively,” said Pohl.
Research has found that children who live in homes that manufacture or traffic serious drugs are at high risk of chronic respiratory disorders, neurological damage, cancer and physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
Catholic Social Services director Karen Murphy wasn’t familiar with the new law, but she said she supports any legislation that protects vulnerable children.
Horricks said parents who manufacture or traffic drugs are clearly not making parenting a priority. Not only are their children being exposed to dangerous chemicals, situations and people, but the parents are also very poor role models.
“They will be perpetuating the next generation to do the same thing.”
But considering all the social ills that children are exposed to, Horricks believes relatively few kids in the province are growing up in drug houses, compared with those with alcoholic parents, for example.
Pohl said children of abusive or neglectful alcoholics are provided for under existing legislation. Alberta’s problem with drug trafficking and manufacturing is seen as a broadening social problem with imminent dangers, so swift protection for children in these circumstances is needed.
She hopes publicity about the Drug-endangered Children Act will encourage members of the public to call Alberta Children’s Services if they know minors are living in homes where dangerous drugs are made or sold.
Source: Red Deer Advocate