Lovingood Moves to Strengthen Child Welfare Protections

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Robert Lovingood today said the County needs to seek changes in the law to give San Bernardino County and communities across the country the tools they need to provide better protection to children threatened by abuse and neglect.

“The San Bernardino County Grand Jury investigated the job we are doing protecting our children and made several good, commonsense recommendations,” Supervisor Lovingood said. “Unfortunately, the county can’t carry out some of these recommendations because state and federal laws provide too many protections to abusive and neglectful parents.”

The grand jury recommended that social workers be allowed to administer on-the-spot drug tests to parents they suspect of being under the influence of illegal drugs and remove children from parents who test positive. However, state law does not give social workers the ability to compel parents to submit to a drug test, and case law at the state and federal levels holds that a parent being under the influence of illegal drugs is not sufficient grounds to seek the removal of a child from their home.

“I am very concerned by the degree to which state and federal law prevent local communities from providing basic protection to abused and neglected children,” Supervisor Lovingood said. “I understand the need to be judicious and to not unnecessarily intrude into the lives of functional families. But when children are being hurt, society needs the ability to step in.”

Supervisor Lovingood today announced plans to work with his fellow San Bernardino County supervisors and the county’s representatives to work toward legislation that will:

  • Allow social workers to administer on-the-spot drug testing when they suspect a parent or guardian is under the influence of illegal drugs.
  • Allow social workers to take custody of children whose parents or guardians are under the influence of illegal drugs.

“There is nothing more important than protecting children from abuse and neglect. It’s time for state and federal law to give local communities the ability to prevent tragedy,” Supervisor Lovingood said.

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