Drug Babies Present Cost to Society - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/26/04 - Tyler

Drug Babies Present Cost to Society

On the court records, this is case number 04-0500-D -- one case in a pile of many cases, where the baby is born addicted to drugs. The only people in court today: the baby's attorney, a CPS case worker, and a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA -- all fighting to help a baby no family members seem to want.

"No participation from the mother," Glen Elliott, a CASA volunteer, said. "She has not called, she's not contacted, checked on the child, nothing. We don't know where mother is. There's no address available to us."

The alleged father is also missing. The 24-year-old mother was addicted to cocaine and marijuana while she was pregnant. As a result, her baby was born six weeks premature and also addicted to drugs. Now, two weeks later, the baby still remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Child Protective Services says the baby will likely stay in the ICU for three more months. The point Judge Carole Clark wants to make is drug abuse doesn't just end with the mother facing consequences.

"They trade sex for drugs or sell sex for drugs," Judge Clark, 321st District Court of Smith County, said. "And children result. Many of these children are born with cerebral palsy, they're born with blindness, they're born with hyperactivity."

"Well, who would pay for the child's medical care?" Elliott said. "I guess society, our tax dollars, pay for that. The CPS, the judge's time. Your time, my time as a volunteer."

Statistics show fewer than one out of five drug baby cases ends with a parent getting custody of the child.

"Get off drugs or lose your child," Judge Clark said.

In this anonymous case, Judge Clark says CPS was granted temporary custody of the infant. CASA volunteers will try to track down the mother. But if they can't find her after 60 days, a new hearing will determine where the baby will go.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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