More meth labs means more meth lab children. More abuse. More neglect.
Meth’s toll on Indiana communities, on taxpayers and especially on children is staggering. Recently released figures from the Indiana Department of Child Services give a glimpse of the hidden suffering.
In state fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013), 14 children died because of substantiated abuse and 35 died because of substantiated neglect.
In almost every one of the deaths, insufficient income was a major contributing factor. In 43 percent of the cases, substance abuse was involved.
Nearly 70 percent of the time a biological parent and/or a biological parent’s partner was the cause of death.
James Wide, deputy director of communications for the Indiana Department of Child Services, said insufficient income refers to factors such as a single parent working a low-paying job and requiring public assistance, eviction for nonpayment or having had a vehicle or other items repossessed.
Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, said the report is a call for Hoosiers to do better.
“We will continue to collaborate with local child advocates to address the continuing pattern of multiple stress factors that lead to child fatalities, with an increased effort in prevention,” she said in a news release. “As we approach the summer months, it is important to re-emphasize water safety and to never leave a child unattended in a hot car, never.”
Children take a lot of supervision, care and patience — all of which are more likely to be lacking if someone is dealing with multiple stress factors.
Anyone suspecting abuse or neglect should call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 800-800-5556. In SFY 2013, there were 187,465 total reports to the hotline.
Hoosiers can and must do better for our children. There are no easy solutions, but there is a law that could save both tax dollars and Hoosier lives. As the investigation into “The hidden face of meth” points out today, legislators are failing to act on a proposal that most law enforcement personnel believe could dramatically reduce the number of meth labs in Indiana.
The state Legislature refuses to make ephedrine — the key ingredient used in the manufacture of methamphetamine — available by prescription only, as it used to be prior to 1976.
We can’t legislate better parents. But we can legislate safer communities.
This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected].