Local social services agencies in North Carolina are now collecting information about babies born with a dependence on drugs or alcohol. The new Substance Affected Infants plan complies with a federal mandate.
Kristin O'Connor of the state Social Services Division says affected babies will be tracked, and their families will be referred to local social service agencies to get help.
“As that data is collected and aggregated and analyzed, it's going to help inform plans and programs and services and policy development,” O’Connor said.
Families with positive test results will not necessarily be referred to Child Protective Service,” O’Connor said.
“This really does provide the state of North Carolina with an additional opportunity to provide the needed resources to the most vulnerable children and families so that we can keep families together and prevent out-of-home placement,” she said.
The data collected could also inform future programs and policy decisions.
“At minimum, right now, it's going to really give us an idea of the number of infants who are exposed and the number of referrals that we need to be making to appropriate services and the number of families impacted,” O’Connor said.