The state is trying a new pilot program to help kids who’re found at the homes of parents who’re making drugs. Marvin Van Haaften is the director of the Office of Drug Control Policy and a former county sheriff. He says the new program will bring together law officers, human service, and medical officials in one effort.He says the law officer will do a very careful examination of a scene where a child is found to support a case against the parents for child endangerment. Van Haaften says the officer will also see that the child is checked out.He says in the past the child was usually turned over to relatives without a medical evaluation, but now the child will undergo an in-depth medical check up. Van Haaften says the information from the child’s medical tests will go along with the info gathered at the scene to fully prosecute the parents. Van Haaften says it’s not uncommon for children to be found in homes where the parents are making meth. He cites the example he found as sheriff where a meth lab was right under the crib of a child.He says he was concerned to see all the fixtures in the home had been pitted by the acid in the air, and he was concerned about how much harm had been done to the child. While Van Haaften believes the new program will help children and do more to prosecute parents — he doesn’t think it will keep parents from cooking up the drugs while their kids are around. He says he suspects it’s such a destructive drug, that there’ll still be parents who’ll still make the drugs while their kids are there. The first training session for the program is today (Tuesday) in Dubuque, and there’s a second tomorrow (Wednesday) in Des Moines. He says they had 455 people signed up and that number keeps going up, as it has proven to be a program that law officers in particular are interested in. The pilot programs will cover Polk and Appanoose Counties and Van Haaften says other counties have expressed interest in training officers too.
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