April 1994

Infant 'Abandonment' by Drug-Using Mothers: Blaming the Victims?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics District of Columbia General Hospital 1900 Massachusetts Ave SE Washington, DC 20003

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(4):438. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170040103022

We would like to thank Dr Neuspiel for sharing his views on this complex issue. It may be his experience that the child welfare system in his jurisdiction is excessively punitive. However, in the District of Columbia that is not the case, sometimes to the surprise of health care professionals. Visits by a public health nurse are done to evaluate the suitability of the caregiver's home and to determine the presence of physical necessities to address the needs of any infant. Social services are alerted if these basic items are not available, and assistance is provided to obtain these items. Children are not removed simply because the mother has a history of substance abuse or even if the infant's urine is positive for illicit substances. Every effort is made to keep babies with their mothers. However, when a mother walks out of the hospital, leaves no correct address

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