CPS June 2010
In compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and the Texas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, the CPS caseworker's role is to:
• respond to law enforcement, when notified about a drug-endangered child;
• accept control of the child from law enforcement or first responders taking control of a child must be consistent within the context of CPS general removal policies;
• arrange for appropriate decontamination;
• arrange for immediate and follow-up medical care;
• conduct an initial interview with the child;
• make placement decisions; and
• collaborate on an ongoing basis with law enforcement, medical personnel, and a criminal prosecutor.
See Appendix 1971: Protocol for Working With Drug-Endangered Children for more information on caseworker procedures for dealing with drug-endangered children.
CPS June 2010
Visits to homes where marijuana, other controlled substances, and alcohol are present can present additional safety risks to caseworkers. In addition to the general precautions caseworkers need to take in making home visits, the following are precautions specific to the presence of substance abuse in the home:
then the caseworker …
a home is located in an area known for drug dealing …
before visiting the home:
• requests that a special investigator research, through law enforcement, the prevalence of criminal activity related to narcotics or violence that has taken place in the home; and
• requests that law enforcement officers assist when the caseworker goes to a home located in an area known for drug dealing.
one or both parents appear in the home to be intoxicated or incoherent …
• first ensures his or her own safety and the safety of the children;
• then calls law enforcement for assistance; and
• then calls the CPS supervisor for further guidance.
Considerations for Removal
A child is not removed simply because the parent is intoxicated. The caseworker weighs the following before deciding the action to take, when faced with an intoxicated parent:
• the child's safety;
• the potential risk;
• the parent's protective capacities; and
• CPS removal policies.
the caseworker suspects that he or she is in a home that is used as a drug factory, lab, or home where drugs are sold …
• calmly leaves the home; and
• calls law enforcement.
the caseworker observes drug use in the home …
does not take possession of the drug. CPS does not take possession of evidence. The caseworker calls law enforcement, if needed.
CPS June 2010
The caseworker needs to be familiar with some of the typical symptoms associated with drug exposure.
The symptoms the caseworker might experience if exposed to a drug substance are:
• shortness of breath;
• blue-colored skin;
• rapid breathing;
• tightness in the chest;
• feeling fidgety; and
• pain when swallowing.
If the caseworker is exposed to a drug, he or she:
• seeks medical treatment, before taking any other steps; and then
• notifies his or her supervisor;
• completes, within one day of the incident, an Accident/Incident Report through the accessHR human resources system; and
• informs his or her physician about the suspected drug exposure.
If the caseworker suspects that he or she has been exposed to Methamphetamine, he or she contacts emergency medical personnel for decontamination and medical treatment.
CPS June 2010
When assessing a client's substance abuse, the caseworker does as follows:
• Assesses the nature of the client's use (uses, abuses, is addicted, does not use)
• Assesses the effects of the client's use on the client (physically, behaviorally, cognitively, socially, financially, and spiritually)
• Assesses the effects of the client's use on his or her children (the prenatal effects, the effects on household safety, supervision, support systems, and any relationship to the children being physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected)
• Assesses the parent's protective capacity
• Confirms the type of use (testing one of the following methods: instant swab, swab with confirmation, urine toxicology, or hair follicle test). For definitions, see 1922 Eligibility for Substance Abuse Testing.