Recently, I was completing intake calls at my place of employment the Missouri Children’s Division. I received a call from an officer from a local community that was very upset. He had arrested a female for drug paraphernalia. The officer was very upset because, he had attempted to make a hotline call on this individual but, it was not accepted. The officer was exasperated. The female that he had arrested had been visibly pregnant and had demonstrated obvious signs of drug abuse. The officer reported that the female had “track marks” that covered all of her arms. As a Child Service Worker, I could not understand why this hotline had been accepted. After consulting with my supervisor and calling the hotline, I discovered that the State of Missouri does not currently have any laws or regulations for any entity like Children’s Division to intervene if an individual is pregnant and is actively using drugs.
This social problem of women being pregnant and actively using drugs is a problem that is very relevant for social workers. According to NASW Standard for Social Work Practice with Clients with Substance Abuse Use Disorder (2013), “Given the extensive social stigma and common misperceptions related to substance use disorders, diagnosis and/or treatment can affect a client’s professional status, social standing, and livelihood. Substance use disorders can also significantly disrupt a client’s family system. Understanding the implications of SUDs with regard to parenting abilities and the resulting consequences for children involved is a key factor to be considered.” Social workers provide services to individuals who are vulnerable. Children are very vulnerable individuals that are completely dependent ...
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...that generally does not end well when the police and Children’s Division are contacted when the infant is born. But, by this time the mother is left with very limited options facing legal repercussions and more than likely the removal of her newborn infant from her care.
The role that race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation play in this social problem is very limited. This is due to the fact that addiction is a disease that affects individuals equally. It is a problem that is directly related to females. This is due to the pregnancy component of the problem. Females would be the individuals who would suffer all consequences related to illegal drug use during pregnancy even if the biological father was also using these substances simultaneously. The emphasis of this social problem is on the fetus who, has not yet been born and the potential effects that the exposure
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