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Child abuse is defined as maltreatment of the physical, psychological or sexual aspect of children. Aside from these major categories, child abuse could take other forms, like exposing children to drugs, shaking babies, and neglect. In the case of the pregnant women who abuse drugs, they should be held criminally responsible for their unborn children. According to the Oregon. gov, drug use during pregnancy is categorized under drug-affected infants. Many pregnant women who take in alcohol and abuse drugs do not realize or refuse to acknowledge the dangers of their habits to children.

While the unborn child is still in the womb, the effects of drug abuse may not manifest yet. However, problems become apparent during birth or shortly after the child is born. Drug could affect babies physically or mentally. Drugs cause low-birth weight, sudden infant death, or the effects could manifest when the child is already in school. His performance could be affected by learning disabilities or behavioral problems that came as a result of the mother’s drug abuse.

The death of the infant or the life-long damage to a child is enough to hold the mother criminally responsible. The child has been doomed for life and he didn’t have a choice in the matter. A mother known to be abusing drugs should be taken into custody of the social welfare department and rehabilitated if the already dependent on drug use. For those who can distance themselves from drug use without professional help, they must be closely monitored by their local health agencies.

Moreover, these women should be given a warning on first offense, but subsequent findings could lead to incarceration after giving birth, and the child will come under the protection of the social welfare services. References Child Welfare Information Gateway. Child Neglect. Retrieved September 27, 2008, from http://www. childwelfare. gov/can/types/childneglect/ Oregon. gov: Children & Teens. What is Child Abuse and Neglect? Retrieved September 27, 2008, from http://www. oregon. gov/DHS/children/abuse/abuse_neglect. shtml

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