One of the biggest problems in Massachusetts is the rise of substance abuse. A major challenge associated with substance abuse users is the daunting number of child abuse and neglect cases that DCF sees every day.
These two issues are positively correlated. As substance abuse rates rise across the state, so do the rates of child abuse and neglect cases. DCF taking your child away due to substance abuse is a huge price to pay for an addiction. There are many reasons to seek treatment and protecting your child from removal is one of them. If you are unable to seek treatment, try to place your children with an appropriate caretaker without a substance abuse problem.
According to The Boston Herald, between March and September of 2016, “substance abuse was cited as a factor in more than 14,000 DCF cases”. That means that substance abuse is involved in a staggering 1 out of every 3 abuse and neglect cases. This makes substance-abuse the number one leading cause for DCF involvement, outpacing both domestic violence by 21% and mental health by 18%.
To understand the substance abuse dilemma in Massachusetts, we first have to consider the Opioid crisis.
The crisis has permeated through the Northeast. As a consequence, DCF officials are now mandating “that social workers track when substance abuse is cited in an initial allegation of child abuse and/or neglect.” (The Boston Herald). Starting in 2016, DCF has been in the process of hiring additional substance-abuse specialists. The department already has several structures in place for substance abuse-related issues. The department has also been increasing services to help handle the increasing number of substance abuse users as a result of the rise of the opioid crisis.
By definition, substance abuse includes the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol. What you may not consider a dangerous substance could be detrimental to your parenting ability and fitness according to DCF. Drug and alcohol abuse can range from opioids to one too many beers. With the recent legalization of Marijuana , the drug is still in a relatively gray-area in the legal definition of substance abuse. A substance does not have to be as severe as heroin to be considered a factor of child abuse or neglect.
When you have a substance abuse issue, you have to be proactive. The issue will not just simply resolve itself, or go away. The continued use and abuse may lead to the removal of your children by DCF. This is a huge price to pay for an addiction, and should be the main reason to seek proper treatment.
Being involved with DCF is not easy, this problem is compounded when you are dealing with an addiction.
You must address it, treat it, and beat it! This is however, as any addict knows, easier said than done. Good luck on your road less traveled to sobriety!
Kevin Seaver is an experienced, trusted lawyer who successfully represents clients against DCF from Boston, Massachusetts. Call Kevin at (617) 263-2633 or request a Free Consultation online!