For some of our clients, criminal charges related to pregnancy are only the beginning.

They may also face related “child welfare” cases after they or their babies are given non-consensual drug tests in trusted health care settings based on what they have or haven’t done during pregnancy.

These cases often carry strict and lengthy requirements of parenting classes, drug treatment — even if they don’t have a substance use disorder — invasive and unannounced in-home visits, and the threat or reality of family separation. This leads many clients to accept criminal plea deals because they would rather be incarcerated for a set amount of time in the hope of being reunited with their children sooner.

Pregnancy Justice has helped family defense lawyers successfully challenge civil child welfare cases that claim using a criminalized drug or medication such as methadone while pregnant is evidence of child abuse or neglect.

Whether it’s called “Child Protective Services,” the “Department of Social Services,” the “Department of Human Resources,” or simply “child welfare,” there is little actual protection of children. This system frequently targets and terrorizes parents of color and the poor and is another form of state control.

LEARN ABOUT pregnancy criminalization