APD sees increase in child endangerment cases involving drugs

Austin police say they are seeing an increase in drug-related child endangerment cases and in some, children are testing positive for the drugs their parents are using.

On August 23, APD responded to a call about two children left behind in a car.

According to an arrest warrant, the car was filled with trash and the children were taken to the hospital for dehydration. The father was found and admitted he was under the influence.

Months later, protective services reported the father tested positive for four drugs and his two-year-old child tested positive for methamphetamine. Associate Judge Travis County District Court Aurora Martinez Jones said the family drug court is no stranger to receiving cases of parents exposing their kids to drugs.

"The use of methamphetamines has been on the rise and we are starting to see more parents with that drug of choice and with the way that substance is used a lot of times it does create exposure for children," Martinez Jones said.

Some parents are placed in the parenting in recovery program and attend weekly drug court hearings. Last year there were 63-parents and 77-children participating.

According Martinez Jones, many parents have successfully graduated through the program.

The only thing she said parents are missing is community support. "By far the biggest thing that I've been made aware of is the community support as a system we put supports in place to find stability in their recovery," said Martinez Jones. "A lot of time there is stigma that comes with parenting and if bad choices were made in the past then sometimes that's really hard for our parents to overcome."