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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    North Carolina: Prenatal drug testing of mother and antenatal drug testing of newborn

    North Carolina law and CPS procedures... questions here.

    We all know that use of illegal or improper use of prescription drugs, alcohol, cigarettes can be harmful to the unborn child. Using those substances in most people's minds and certainly in my own mind, is a terrible thing to do.

    But, I have questions now about what is legal and or appropriate for physicians, in this case, obstetrician's to do, what CPS can or will do if notified of drug use by the mother or presence of drugs in the newborn, just after delivery.

    Can and do obstetrician's test mother's during the months of prenatal care, without her knowledge or permission?

    What do they do with this information?

    Can or do hospitals or obstetrician's test newborns for drugs, without the mother's knowledge or permission?

    If they do and the newborn tests positive, what does the obstetrician do with this information?

    IF the obstetrician reports the presence of drugs, whether THC or cocaine or its metabolite, in the urine or meconium of the newborn, to CPS. what does CPS do with the information?

    If CPS acts to immediately remove the infant from custody of the new mother and place it in foster care, WHY does it do this and why does it have the authority to do this?

    Is there a standard operating procedure for these kinds of situations?

    It is an established fact that in NC, African-American mothers and newborns are targeted more frequently than white. Doesn't this present a legal liability for NC social services?

    I won't go into my own personal beliefs on how situations, in which a Mom, no matter how much she loves and wants her baby, cannot stop using and cannot access help for fear she will lose her baby to CPS, only to lose her baby to CPS, should or could be handled to keep mother and child united, while mother gets the needed help to overcome her drug problem. I just would like to know how these things are handled... whether routinely or not.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Who are you in this situation?

    Bottom line is that there are two issues involved: child's health and safety and Mom's privacy.

    If the child's health is in danger, the hospital can test the child without permission as part of the necessary care.

    If there is no health issue, the hospital needs permission to test the mother. However, routine admissions forms may grant that permission.

    Can the child be tested at birth without permission? Depends on state law.

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