Alcohol Monitoring During Child Custody

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Child protective services often conduct alcohol monitoring during child custody if one or both parents is suspected of or has been proven to be addicted. Heavy drinking not only causes significant problems for men and women but also for their children. A custodial mother or father under the influence can become abusive or negligent in the care of youngsters causing accidental or intentional injury, disfigurement or even death. Alcoholism can cause otherwise caring and loving mothers and fathers to woefully neglect small children, failing to feed, shelter or clothe them. Alcohol monitoring during child custody may expose poor living habits in an addicts household. An individual addicted to drinking may go for days without eating; many simply forget to prepare meals. Money needed for food, utilities, or clothing may be wasted on alcohol; and children suffer needlessly. In extreme cases, youngsters may be beaten, raped, burned with cigarettes, or prostituted by their parents because of an uncontrollable addiction. "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" (Ephesians 5:14-18).

When the courts award custody to a custodial parent who has a history of alcoholism, social workers may be appointed to conduct home visits or parents may be required to report for regular assessments at state run agencies. The goal of the court is to ensure the greatest safety for minor children while helping custodial parents kick the habit. Agencies often require parents to attend 12-step programs along with alcohol monitoring during child custody. Substance abuse courses address the mental and emotional issues surrounding addiction while replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones. Social workers assigned to monitoring addictive mothers or fathers might visit unannounced to assess whether the parent has been abusing alcohol. Signs of abuse will include the presence of liquor in the home, drunkenness, a lack of food, or uncleanness. A home environment that is unkempt, overrun with trash and filth, or lacking food and utilities such as electricity or water are sure signs that a custodial parent has been binging or wasting money on liquor.

Social workers will first try to help custodial parents "clean up their act" by helping to manage money or provide housekeeping or food preparation tips. Long term alcohol monitoring during child custody may include weekly or biweekly home visits, querying close relatives to assess the parent's conduct, or reporting on improvements or negative behaviors that discourage or encourage drinking. Alcoholics can be deceived into thinking that spending time with drinking buddies or taking just one sip of booze will not cause them to fall off the wagon; but they should beware. Mothers or fathers under the influence should strive to avoid being in the company of those who drink, gradually substituting alcohol dependency with acceptable patterns of behavior. Replacing visits to the nightclub or corner bar with church attendance or enrollment in higher education are all positive lifestyle changes that social workers who conduct alcohol monitoring during child custody can appreciate. The less custodial parents imbibe, the greater the chances that minor children can thrive and remain in the home. "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame" (I Corinthians 15:33-34).

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes relatives and friends to help a custodial parent addicted to alcohol kick the habit. Alcohol monitoring during child custody sometimes reveals a pattern of abusive drinking in the parent's family. Social drinking can often lead to abuse in youth, teens and adults. Relatives should be discouraged from offering alcohol to custodial parents or inviting them to family affairs where liquor or beer is served. Contrary to popular belief, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is neither a rite of passage for youth, nor is it a badge of adulthood for older children. Inviting children to begin drinking at dinner parties or other social gathering is positioning that child for failure. Child protective services should be alerted a family's pattern of drinking when conducting alcohol monitoring during child custody.

The courts have the power to remove minor children from a home when alcohol monitoring during child custody reveals negligence or abuse. In such cases, a parent could become incarcerated and minors placed into foster care or with a non-custodial parent or responsible relative. If suitable custodians cannot be found, the court will place the children in foster care for an extended period of time, much to the detriment of the family unit. Youngsters who are wards of the court can be taken away from the home for years and shipped from house to house, sometimes suffering abuse at the hands of uncaring adults. Until a mother or father has undergone an acceptable substance abuse program and proven their ability to abstain from strong drink, children may not be returned to the home. Sadly, because of the strength of an addictive habit like alcoholism, some parents lose their children permanently. Only through seeking secular or spiritual counseling for alcoholism can men and women overcome addiction and regain custody of minor children.

Alcohol Testing During Child Custody

Alcohol testing during child custody is done by testing hair because the hair will show a person's history of alcohol use for up to a year. Urine testing is another way that the substance will show up but the tests given this way are not always accurate. Hair testing will not only prove usage it will prove non usage as well. One's hair will absorb everything that a person eats or drinks including drugs and alcohol. Alcohol testing during child custody is usually administered and collected by a certified nurse that is sent to the parent's home or at a designated location determined by the court. The lab will look for the existence of ethyl glucuronide in the bloodstream.

A parent accused of substance abuse who is trying to gain custody of his or her children will have to submit to drug testing when ordered by the court. This is also true for a parent who wants visitation privileges. The results are for use by the court only and the results will be kept confidential. Alcohol testing during child custody is a process that determines how long a person has abused substances. This will tell the court if the parent in question is a habitual user or an infrequent user. If the adult refuses the test then the court will rule against him or her and not allow custody or visitation. If the party admits to substance abuse but wants to have visitation rights then the test will still have to be administered to determine the extent of the abuse. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).

Testimony from medical personal and police can help to prove a case against someone guilty of substance abuse. The person may have a police record of driving while drunk or has been caught with possession of the substance. The court will look at the extent of the allegations against the accused and the testimony or proof to determine alcohol testing during child custody. Observing the behavior of the accused while present in the courtroom could lead a judge to a decision to order testing. The court will want to determine if the child will be safe while in the presence of the accused. Someone who has a record of driving while drunk will not have a lot of success in convincing a judge to let him or her have visitation rights. And if he or she gets visitation rights they will be limited to seeing the children while they are in the custody of the other parent.

First and foremost the court has to judge a case regarding alcohol testing during child custody based upon the health, safety, and welfare of the minor. Younger kids usually require more protection from the court than minors who are older. Older kids will be able to tell the court about the substance abuse because they understand what is happening. Older children with special needs will probably need the same type of consideration by the court as younger kids. If a minor was to express to the court that they do not want to be with the parent in question then the judge would have to consider the child's wishes. Family counseling might be an option when a situation exists involving the child's wishes especially if the parent accused pushes the matter to want to see the minor.

Positive test results do not automatically mean that the parent abusing substances has no visitation rights. Instead, the adult may go from unsupervised visitation to supervised visitation. Alcohol testing during child custody with supervised visitation can be changed by the court when the guilty party has a series of tests over a period of time that come out clean. In order for the order of supervised visits to be changed the accused must return to court with a motion to change custody or visitation. Even then, the court will have to determine if the child will be cared for while in the custody of the accused. The minor's welfare is always paramount in these types of cases. The court will have to determine if it is in the best interest of the minor to visit the accused without an appointed supervisor present. If the accused has a safe home environment and has income to take care of the minor then he or she might have a better chance of gaining unsupervised visitation.

Sometimes a person guilty of substance abuse will argue the fact that he or she does not indulge in that abuse while having the minor with them. The adult may produce witnesses testifying to this statement. The court must still consider the outcome of the alcohol testing during child custody to help determine the adult's status with the minor. If the test shows habitual use then the adult in question may not be believable by the court. Community resources may be available to the parent with the abuse problem. If the parent is sincere about wanting to get help and does so then this will look favorably on his or her behalf. Resources to help a parent with an abuse problem are usually provided by the county in which he or she resides.

Options are available to a parent who has been denied custody or visitation rights based upon alcohol testing during child custody. The adult may challenge a positive test result. However, the court will still have to determine what is best for the minor. When the court relied upon substance abuse testing by using the person's urine there was more of a reason for a parent to exercise his or her rights towards gaining custody or visitation by challenging the results of the test. However, the test that is available to the court by using a hair follicle is much more dependable and accurate so the accused has less of an argument that the results are incorrect.

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