Child Protective Services,Cannabis (drug),Neglect,Child abuse,Breakfast

HighQ: Can DCFS take away your kids if you smoke marijuana?

January 2, 2017
in Kids

Diverse Images/UIG/Getty Images Even though marijuana is legal in California, it's still possible for the Department of Children and Family Services to remove kids from the home for parental marijuana use, according to Dr. Charles Sophy, the department's medical director in Los Angeles County. "The bottom line is we treat it the same as any other substance," Sophy said. DCFS gets involved with families when it is alerted to cases of neglect, whether marijuana's a factor or not, he said. "We’ll often get a call on our child abuse hotline that there’s a child who either told the teacher that they didn’t have breakfast, or they haven’t had a bath in a couple of weeks, or they haven’t seen their parents," Sophy said. "There’s some kind of triggering … statement or allegation made by a child." Based on such information, DCFS investigators visit the child's home to assess the situation, where they look for paraphernalia or drugs in locations easily accessible to children. "If we walk into a home or we meet a parent and they look like they are, you know, inebriated or they're under the influence — or they're stoned or high or whatever — we can get a drug test," Sophy said. "We can get one immediately right then and there." If DCFS investigators determine that consumption of marijuana or other substances is inhibiting a parent's ability to parent, they take action. The steps they take could involve removing the children from the home and requiring parents to attend treatment programs for recovery. However, Sophy said that while finding higher concentrations of THC — the main mind-altering ingredient in marijuana...

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