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Addiction Treatment and Foster Care of Newborns Affected by New Law
A new state bill will go into effect in July listing neonatal abstinence syndrome as a form of child abuse.
If a mother misuses opioids while pregnant, their child will likely develop NAS. They usually exhibit withdrawal symptoms within 72 hours of birth.
Kentucky has seen an increase in newborns affected by NAS from 2001 to 2016. The Kentucky Department of Health released a report stating that there were 1,257 observed cases of NAS in 2016.
Kentucky Rep. Joni Jenkins, regularly visits babies at Children's Hospital in Louisville. Many doctors who work with NAS cases have strong opinions on whether the babies should go home with their parents, she said.
Supporters of HB 1 were mainly concerned with newborn safety. If parents are found guilty of child abuse from NAS, family courts can rule to terminate their parental rights and place the baby with a foster family. A parent may enroll in an addiction program within 90 days to avoid such a verdict.
While some foster families are in favor of the new bill, others don't think it is strict enough.
This section of HB 1 becomes effective in July.