The opioid epidemic has had a far-reaching impact on the entire State of Florida – and Broward County is no different. With hundreds dying every year and drug-related crime on the rise, one of the most distressing statistics is the rise of child neglect cases as a result of drug use and abuse. Here’s what you need to know about child neglect and the opioid epidemic in Broward County.
Child Neglect Due to Substance Abuse Is on the Rise
According to a study conducted by the University of South Florida, from 2012 to 2015, two out of every 1,000 children in the State of Florida was removed from their parents’ homes due to neglect caused by drug abuse. That figure is an increase of 129 percent over three years.
According to the Florida Coalition of Children, drug abuse is the leading cause of children entering state foster care. In 2017, 60-percent of all removals of children by state agencies were the direct result of drug or substance abuse – more than double what it was in 2014. According to Mike DiBrizzi, president of Camelot Community Care, “Substance abuse has always been a reason why children leave their families. It’s been compounded by the opioid issue…and it’s one of the hardest issues we have to deal with.”
Child Neglect and Florida Law
Child abuse is covered under chapter 39, Part II of the Florida Statutes. Florida law defines child abuse as
“including any non-accidental injury, sexual battery, sexual or financial exploitation or injury to the psychological or intellectual capacity of a child by the parents or other persons responsible for the child’s welfare. Child neglect is the failure to provide adequate clothing, food, shelter, health care or needed supervision.”
The law mandates that the Department of Children and Families receive, investigate and act upon all reports of child abuse and neglect.
Child Neglect Charges in Florida
When charged with child neglect in Florida, the prosecution must establish the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant willfully, or through culpable negligence, failed to provide care, supervision, safety, or services to a child.
- The defendant was the caregiver to the child.
- The victim was under the age of 18.
Any successful defense of a child neglect charge must refute these claims. This is why you should always consult with an experienced Broward County criminal defense attorney if you are suspected of, or charged with, child neglect.
Don’t Let Substance Abuse Cost You Your Family
The opioid epidemic that is gripping Florida has destroyed countless lives and devastated families across Broward County. Don’t let you or your family become another statistic. Call Piotrowski Law today.
Chad Piotrowski is a passionate believer in the knowledge and hopes that those who fall victim to opioids and other substances can turn their lives around. That’s why he is at the forefront of ensuring his clients are knowledgeable about federal drug programs, such as RDAP for federal inmates, as well as local drug rehabilitation programs, such as those offered by the Miami Police Department.