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Babies are born every day all over the world, but more and more are born to addicted parents and addicted to drugs themselves. If a mother tests positive for drugs and the father admits to occasional marijuana use and daily alcohol consumption, should they be allowed to continue parenting? In California and other states, child welfare officials are handling child custody matters such as this by allowing children to remain at home.

Officials say the changes allow investigators to spend more time monitoring a family, and the child’s well-being is now the responsibility of an entire team instead of one caseworker. The program would allow children to remain in the home as long as there is no present danger or noticeable abuse or neglect. Experts agree that there will be challenges and the program will need to be fine-tuned as it progresses.

The main goal is to reduce the number of children in foster care. According to agency officials, working hard to keep families together will help drive the foster care numbers down. Many fail to recognize the trauma that children may experience when they are removed from their home. Studies show that many children feel the loss of their family and home environment even if it is a dangerous situation.

When a child is placed in foster care, there are many unknowns. Kids may be unsure of where they are going, and no one can tell them how long they will be there. In California, the best-laid plans of keeping children at home can go wrong. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help determine whether parents have child custody rights even in an unstable home environment. A lawyer who is well informed can address concerns and answer questions to determine what is in the best interest of the child.

Source: azcentral.com, “Arizona child-welfare agency aims to keep more kids at home,” Mary Jo Pitzl, Feb. 4, 2018