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What to do when Children are Harmed by Addiction

answered 09:38 AM EST, Mon March 31, 2014
My 26 yr old daughter has a heroin problem and will not admit to it. She also has a 3 yr old daughter. I'm concerned for their lives

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds
MSED, NCC, LPC

Thank you for your question. I'm sure you are very concerned about your grandchild. People in the grips of an addiction are rarely responsible. Good parents have to put their children first and an addict in active addiction has difficulty putting anything before the drug. Your daughter may love her child very much but if she is addicted to heroin, she has a disease which needs treatment. I know it may be hard for you but you may have to intervene legally.

You can contact Children Protective Services. This is a government agency that responds to reports of child abuse or neglect. They have different names for the service depending on where you live but the purpose is to protect children. Most of these agencies have moved toward trying to keep families together. They can offer your daughter help to get the treatment she needs. They may place your granddaughter in your care temporarily until her mother gets the help she needs. 

You can also petition the court for guardianship of your granddaughter. If you believe your granddaughter is being neglected or abused because of your daughter's addiction, you can seek custody of her child. Whatever you choose to do, keep your granddaughter's best interest in mind. While it is important for children to grow up with their parents, it is more important that the parent be capable of taking care of them.

Addiction is a disease which needs medical and psychological treatment. Many addicts won't seek treatment for the disease until they have no other choice. While taking legal action may be difficult, it may be the wake up call your daughter needs to realize the harm she may be causing her daughter.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope your daughter gets the treatment she needs.

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Page last updated Mar 31, 2014

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