Help for Child Victims of Meth Labs
While their parents get busted for making and selling the stuff, the children suffer sick side effects. But law enforcement and social service agencies are hoping to rescue the children of methamphetamine makers. Missouri cops, social workers and bureaucrats joined Tuesday to save the kids raised in meth lab homes. A quarter million dollar grant will be used to develop a statewide policy for providing better medical treatment for these children.
"There is no statewide interagency protocol set up so that all of those agencies knows whose responsibility is what when a child is found in a meth lab. This will address that issue," Director of the Juvenile Justice Association Julie Agee says.
The children of meth makers suffer in the polluted gases and liquids of meth lab homes. Their small body size easily absorbing the harmful chemicals. Most meth labs are in a simple kitchen. Meth chemicals are often in unmarked containers or even on a child's toy. Last year more than 400 Missouri children were found living in meth homes. Burns were the most frequent injury.
"When you talk about innocent victims, through no fault of their own, they are exposed to some of the most hazardous chemicals in our society," US Senator Kit Bond says.
Missouri is the nation's leading meth producer. And this program for the children of meth makers is one of the first of its kind in the nation. State training on the treatment of kids exposed to meth is available to anyone that wants it.
Missouri's Juvenile Justice Center is trying to cut the number of children affected by meth. Last year almost 400 children were affected by meth labs. That number is down from 500 in 2003. Missouri led the nation in both 2003 and 2004 for meth labs busted. California was the previous leader in that category.