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THE USE OF HAIR EXPOSURE TESTING (CHILDGUARD®) IN THE EVALUATION OF CHILD PHYSICAL NEGLECT/D RUG ENDANGERMENT Since 2011, Children’s Center in Oregon has utilized ChildGuard to help identify when a child has been exposed to harmful substances, and determine the next best step toward a healthier life for both child and caretaker. by Sue Skinner, MD, FAAP Child abuse and neglect remain a public health crisis in the United States. For FFY 2013, there were 679,000 child victims in the U.S., with an overall rate of 9.1 abuse victims per 1,000 children. In other words, nearly 1 in 100 children yearly is a victim of abuse or neglect. By the time a child reaches adulthood, he or she then has a nearly 1 in 5 likelihood of having been a victim of abuse or neglect. Nearly four-fifths of child abuse cases are the result of neglect.1 Although many types of abuse coexist (sexual abuse, physical abuse and psychological abuse), by and large child neglect remains the most significant risk to a child. Frequently, child neglect is not a one-time episode, but rather a pattern of circumstances

health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm.3 Child neglect itself is heterogeneous. However, parent or caretaker drug use is a frequent contributor to child neglect, for a variety of reasons. There is the risk of the primary presence of the drug itself, as well as the high-risk environment the child is living in as a caretaker is using and perhaps dealing in drugs. Most importantly, however, the caregiver’s ability to safely and consistently care for their child is impaired. Some professionals emphasize that parental substance abuse is associated with neglect, however, others state more directly that parental substance abuse and/or exposing children to illegal drug activity is itself actually child neglect.3 In The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children defines fact, 33 states address in their drug-endangered children as those who are at risk of suffering criminal statutes the issue of harm as a result of illegal drug use, possession, exposing children to illegal drug 4 manufacturing, cultivation or distribution. activity. The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children where the child’s needs are not met by his or her defines drug-endangered children as those who caregivers. Fundamentally, neglect occurs when a are at risk of suffering harm as a result of illegal child’s basic needs are not met.2 More specifically, drug use, possession, manufacturing, cultivation neglect is the failure of a parent or caretaker to or distribution. They may also be children whose provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical caretaker’s substance misuse interferes with the care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s caretaker’s ability to parent and provide a safe and

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Winter/Spring 2016 Substance

Profile for USDTL

Substance | Winter/Spring 2016  

Substance | Winter/Spring 2016  

Profile for usdtl