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Federal Policy Changes Around Drug Testing at Birth: Clinical Considerations and Advocacy Tools for Midwives and Their Clients

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA, originally enacted in 1974) is federal legislation designed to address child abuse and neglect through research, data dissemination, federal definitions and guidelines. CAPTA was most recently amended by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 and modified the state plan requirements for infants born and identified as being affected by substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. These recent changes require states to identify substance-exposed newborns (SEN) to both legal and illegal substances and to develop the plans of safe care for infants affected by all substance abuse. As states propose and enact legislation, policies around hospital toxicology screening of mothers and babies will change and midwives both in- and out-of-hospital will be impacted. This session provides participants with a background on CAPTA legislation and SEN ideology, conversation about the way that may be enacted at the state level, and suggestions for clinical practice. The presenters, a scientist and a lawyer from Colorado, have been on the front lines of these policy changes in a state with legalized cannabis and will share tactics and experiences from their efforts to reduce the punitive way SEN-informed policies work in reality.

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