Parents and drugs

This is one of my pet peeves. Parents who use drugs (and alcohol). Parents are the first role models for a child. They are also the providers for a child.

Children see and understand more than most people think they do. And they like to imitate their parents. Watching a parent on drugs, they begin to come to the understanding that this is ok. Instead of growing up playing school and going to work, they pretend to use drugs. And eventually they may try them themselves. After all, if their parents did it, it must be ok, right?

A parent who is doing drugs, is operating under an altered reality. They may not be alert to dangers the children get into. They may not be as attentive to the children’s needs as they should be. Eventually, the child may become less important than the drug of choice. And with any drug, including perscription drugs there are often side effects. Things like a loss of inhibitions, irritability, loss of control, confusion, and a host of others according to the drug of choice, including addiction.

Drugs are expensive. When drugs are a normal part of a parents lives, that means less income available for the care of the child. What happens when it comes down to a choice between buying food for the child and buying drugs?

I am not talking about drugs that are necessary treatments for a parents health and well being. I am talking about
“recreational” drugs, and the increasing roles they can play in a parents life. Because as usage increases, the drugs become less of a lifestyle choice or recreational event, and more of a way of life. And when that happens, it is the ones who did not have the choice who lose the most. The children.

Police raided a home on Wed. and arrested two mothers on charges of drugs and child neglect. Conditions in the home were bad. No running water, staple foods, beds or toilet facilities. Even the landlord of the home states that the home was not really habitable and claims that he was just letting them stay there as a favor to Debra Sue Chinn, 41, because she had been evicted from public housing due to “rules violations” and she claimed she had no where else to go with her daughter. He does state that when they moved in though, they did have running water, but that she must have turned it off or failed to pay the bill. The other mother  Michelle Jean Litchfield, 30 was also charged with the same crimes. There were 3 children in the home, and they are now in the custody of chld protective services. According to the article Chinn had been in court at least once on a previous neglect/abuse case.

And there is one cryptic little comment, that says the drug unit turned over written evidence of a sexual assault and that criminal charges could follow. There is no further explanation and they do not mention if this involves a child or adult.

Three children in foster care. Two women in jail. Possibly at least one has been the victim of a sex crime. That’s a pretty high price to pay, for something that probably started out as “recreational”.


Domestic Violence

I found an interesting article on Domestic Violence from out of San Diego. In 2003, they formed a task force on Domestic Violence. Task Force on Local Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Violence. They state that in California each year, first responders get 200,000 domestic violence phone calls to public service agencies. And that 700,000 children are referred to agencies as domestic violence victims. Annually. One year, one state.

The task force has made some reccomendations to address the domestic violence situation.

Additional training for prosecutors on evaluating and prosecuting these cases.

Courts should not allow plea bargains that eliminate the requirement for the 52 week batterers program and the 3 years of probation.

There should be consequences for batterers who do not complete the mandated batterers program.

Law enforcement and health practicioners should develop a protocol for reporting the violence to the correct law enforcement agency.

Improve the computer databases to ensure that all protective orders are entered into the system.

Judges, district and city attornies offices law enforcement and advocacy agencies should meet regularly.

Other suggestions were Domestic violence services should be tailored to help illegal immigrant victims. And educators should be kept in the loop, so that they can help the children of domestic violence.

A very interesting article, and it sounds like a good start if they follow through. I wish all states would begin working on this also.