Newsbrief: Cooking Speed Equals Child Abuse Under New Tennessee Law 8/2/02

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Persons who manufacture methamphetamines in homes where children are present are presumed to be guilty of severe child abuse under a Tennessee law that took effect this month. The new law expands the definition of "child abuse or neglect that is likely to cause great bodily harm or death" to include cooking meth at the family domicile. No actual harm need be proven under the law, which was crafted to make it easier for the state Department of Children's Services (DCS) to remove the children of speed users from their parents.

"The law says having a structure with a meth lab and a child inside is severe child abuse," DCS spokeswoman Carla Aaron told the Tennessean. "It gives us more to work with."

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth pushed the bill. The commission's executive director, Linda O'Neal, told the Tennessean her agency supported the bill because it provided stability for children by "providing more protections before they are returned to their families, or if that can't be done, facilitating the termination of parental rights."

The law provides that a court's finding of "severe abuse" can be grounds for permanently taking a child from his or her parents.

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Issue #248, 8/2/02 Editorial: Getting from Here to There | Despite Supreme Court Ruling, No Wave of High School Drug Testing Foreseen | US Prison Population Leveling Off, Feds Drive Small Increase | Needle Exchange 2002:00:00 A Long Way Traveled, A Long Way to Go | Baltimore Killings Continue as Politicians Continue to Ignore Role of Prohibition | Stossel Special Spurs War of Letters to ABC | Newsbrief: Cooking Speed Equals Child Abuse Under New Tennessee Law | Massachusetts Governor Vetoes Decriminalization Provisions | Newsbrief: Afghan Crop Report Says Opium Eradication a Joke | Newsbrief: Leading British Comedian Says Legalize It All | Newsbrief: Alabama Rape Victim Ordered to Provide Urine Sample for Drug Test | Newsbrief: Tennessee School Board Ordered to Back Off on Zero Tolerance -- Right to Public Education at Issue | Newsbrief: Seattle Marijuana Enforcement Initiative Signatures Submitted | Web Scan: CriminalDefense.com, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Harry Levine, Ethan Nadelmann, Medical Marijuana Research, School Daily | Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar
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