California's Drug Endangered Child Protection Act includes sections on creating a pilot program, coordinating multiagency response teams, preparing an annual report containing data on the number of children found in and removed from meth labs, and distributing funds. These funds are provided based in part on the number of prosecutions brought against meth labs where children are found, the number of children found at seized or prosecuted clandestine labs, and the demonstrated ability to use multiagency emergency response teams to meet the immediate health and safety needs of children found at meth labs and to prosecute the individuals operating those labs.

California drug laws also specifically address the possession of precursor chemicals with intent to manufacture meth and provide for enhanced penalties when these chemicals are found in a structure where a child younger than age 16 is present. The penal code also requires people who are convicted of abusing a child or endangering a child’s health while under the influence of drugs to abstain from drug use during probation and to submit to random drug testing.

Children will be taken into protective custody (removed from the home) if they have been present at or exposed to a meth lab site. In all cases in which drugs or chemicals are accessible to a child, the CPS worker detains the child and determines proper placement.

A child may also be taken into protective custody when a law enforcement officer or a social worker is concerned about the child’s safety. In the investigation that follows, social workers and/or a court referee may decide that the child needs the protection of Child Protective Services and the Dependency Court. This can happen if or when:

  1. A parent or other person who has custody of the child fails to provide proper care or supervision, and/or
  2. A child is not given the basic necessities of life, including adequate food, housing, or clothing, and/or
  3. A child is in danger because of neglect, cruelty, physical or sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or someone else in the home.

If your child is not released to you, he or she may be temporarily placed in the home of the other parent, if you are not living together; the home of an approved relative, or a licensed foster family. The social worker will tell you where your child is unless the child is in a confidential placement (the court orders that the location be kept secret). If you have more than one of your children removed from your care, the social worker will make every effort to place your children together in out-ofhome foster or relative care. The social worker assigned to your child will review your situation. Based on the social worker’s assessment and recommendation, a court judge or referee will decide if and when it is safe for your child to return home. Your child may be returned to you as soon as safety is assured.

Author's Bio: 

Help support the Meth Kills Campaign