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Black? You’ve Used Drugs? You’re More Likely to Lose Custody of Your Child

Statistics show numbers tilt disproportionately toward harsher treatment by state’s child-protection agency

About one-third of cases in which New Jersey children are taken into protective custody involve parental drug use, according to an investigation by WNYC and NJ Public Radio.

Drug use alone is not supposed to be enough to lose custody of a child in New Jersey. The drug use needs to result in an imminent risk of harm to the child. But lawyers and drug treatment providers across the state say that’s not always the standard being applied.

What’s more, in keeping with what was previously reported – that a disproportionate number of black children are removed from their homes by state social-services agencies – the investigation also shows that black mothers who use drugs are more likely than white drug-users to find themselves dealing with the powerful state Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Read the full report by WNYC and NJPR, content partners of NJ Spotlight.

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