Children three years old and younger tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.

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New Hanover County is seeing an alarming trend of young children testing positive for drugs.

Child Protective Services handles a large number of substance abuse cases in parents, but discovering illegal substances in children was something they hardly expected.  Kari Sanders, child protective services chief, said four children in the county, three years old and younger, recently tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.   “In very severe cases, we have begun testing the children who are coming out of that environment, and it is very alarming that they are testing positive for drugs,” Sanders said.

Protective service officials used hair samples to test the children, but have no way of knowing how they came in contact with the drug.   “It could possibly be second-hand. It could be due to the exposure in the home,” Sanders speculated. “It could be because they’re young children, toddlers, and they’re touching the substances in the home.”

While adults can receive treatment in drug rehabilitation facilities, young children have different needs and require specialized methods of treatment.  “We’re being extremely diligent in ensuring that they’re getting regular pediatric care and their physician is aware that they tested positive, so they can take the appropriate action. Of course, we’re ensuring the children get developmental screenings so we can track their progress while they’re in our custody,” said Sanders about the process that happens after children are removed from their homes.

She said their main objective at Child Protective Services is to restore the children’s health and find a foster home for them, which is sometimes difficult.   “I think there’s always a consistent need for foster parents, and we truly need foster parents who are in our community, in the same school districts that the children are coming from so children can remain in their home environment,” said Sanders about a statewide shortage of foster families.

“They may be removed from their home, but if we can keep other things consistent, like their school or daycare, that’s very important.”

Source: www.wect.com  18th Sept.2014

 

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