Drug Testing Laboratory

In child welfare, the safety of children is the primary consideration.  Drug testing results often assist in the effort to identify or eliminate substance abuse as a possible contributing factor or risk in a child abuse assessment or child welfare service case.  Drug testing may indicate a parent/caretaker’s past substance use or the absence of an illegal substance.  Drug testing may also be used as a check against a parent/caretaker’s verbal assertions in regards to usage and/or serve to confirm or contradict what the Department of Human Services (Department) has learned through direct observation and information gathered from other sources and assessments.  With regard to children, drug testing may indicate possible ingestion or exposure to drugs. 

Drug testing collection is the process by which a sample of hair, sweat, or urine is obtained from a donor’s body and through laboratory analysis the sample is chemically analyzed to determine the presence of certain legal or illegal substances.  The Drug Testing Laboratory Services contractor provides laboratory Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) or better confirmation, only for those substance(s) for which instant result samples yielded a presumptive positive result.

Drug testing services provide critical information to the Department and the Courts that assist in determining courses of action/interventions for clients and their families.  Drug testing results are one of several tools used in the determination of appropriate courses of action and effective interventions for children and families dealing with substance abuse. 

Drug testing is limited in terms of its ability to provide sufficient information in determining or predicting a parent/caretaker’s behavioral patterns and/or ability to parent effectively.  Due to its limitations, drug testing results should not be relied on as the sole measure in determining issues of safety and risk. Drug testing results should be viewed as one component of the accumulated information that needs to be considered during a child abuse assessment and an ongoing child welfare service case.