Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Recently, Hawaii suffered the loss of a precious, nearly two-year-old, baby boy. The boy was allegedly thrown from an overpass into oncoming traffic on the freeway below and died due to injuries he obtained from the fall. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been much discussion regarding this case. The issue of drug abuse, on the parents part, was brought up. People in the professional field have stated that in Hawaii, drug abuse is not enough to remove a child from the home. I am not going to discuss this case with regards to the boyís parents. I am simply going to write about my thoughts and opinions on the issue of any parent that abuses drugs and what happens to their children when they do use drugs.
I was shocked to learn that in Hawaii a parent cannot lose their children when it is discovered that they have been abusing drugs. It left me with so many questions regarding this issue. How is it possible that a parent can use drugs and still maintain custody of their children? When a person uses drugs, I donít believe they are capable of taking care of a child. There may not be physical abuse happening with the child, but I feel very strongly that there is most likely emotional and mental abuse happening, as well as neglect.
I donít believe that a parent can be emotionally supportive of their child when they are using drugs. This is because, for the parent that is addicted to drugs, their own emotions may be heightened and unstable. Thus, they cannot deal with the emotions of their child when their own are spiraling out of control. If their child is young and they begin to cry because they are hungry or wet, and their parent has just taken some type of drug, the parent, in my opinion, may not be able to support their child through the emotions. They may become agitated, angry, confused, upset etc., which may lead the parent to neglect their child and not tend to the childís needs.
The child that is living with parents that are using drugs is not in a safe environment at all! There may be a number of strangers coming in and out of the house. The parents might be sleeping because of the drugs, which may lead to the child getting out of the house and getting hurt as they wander around. The child may be hungry but is not able to eat, since they may be too young to make the food for themselves. The child may also be in soiled diapers or pants, but cannot change their own clothes. Lastly, the child witnesses their parents actions and behaviors while on the drugs and off and may become confused as to when it is okay to approach mommy or daddy.
There are many factors involved when considering whether or not a child should be removed from their home and put into a safer environment. I believe that anytime drugs are involved, the child should be removed until the parent tests clean for a certain period of time. A parent is not capable of caring for a child when using drugs. This is obviously my opinion; however, I believe it to be true. At what point does the state child services decide that enough is enough when dealing with parents that are drug addicted? When is it determined that it is time to take the child away and place them in a safer environment?
This is something that definitely needs to be looked into. Children deserve to grow up in a home free from drug abuse. They deserve to be appropriately cared for and loved. The child deserves to be a child. This will not happen if their parents are using drugs.