The working group was authorized after legislators failed to pass a bill this year governing so-called “drug-endangered” children. Dale Woolery, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, says the panel will include child welfare advocates, substance abuse experts and law enforcement officials.
Woolery says, “The concerns generally are for the welfare, what’s best for children, who may be exposed to drugs that wind up in their system or are living in an environment where drugs are used or sold or in some cases manufactured.” Child welfare advocates say fewer children are being tested for drugs in their systems under a new child abuse investigation protocol at the Iowa Department of Human Services and a DHS spokeswoman says more families are taking advantage of services under the new system. Woolery says child welfare is at stake.
“Once someone knows that caregivers have been drug-involved is that child or are the children in that home are they safe, are they safe a month from now, six months from now?” Woolery says. “What’s happening to intervene in that situation?” A bill which failed to pass the legislature this year would have required notifying law enforcement if investigators determine that a child is “drug-endangered,” which would be a new term in Iowa law. Now, law enforcement is notified if a child is in imminent danger.
(Thanks to Joyce Russell, Iowa Public Radio)