Douglas, Janet 2010
This dissertation examines the health and safety of children found living in marijuana grow operations in two key regions in British Columbia, and how child protection workers have been drawn into this phenomenon. Data was collected on the physical and health characteristics of the grow operation homes, as well as on the prescription drug history of children living in grow operations and a comparison group of children from the same geographic areas. In addition, three document sources were examined as they relate to marijuana grow operations, and in particular, the child welfare response: Hansard and legislative debate surrounding Alberta’s Drug-endangered Children Act (2006); the British Columbia Ministry for Children and Family Development Fact Sheets: Child Protection Issues and Illegal Drug Manufacturing; and relevant articles published in select newspapers between 2004 and 2006. This study found that there was no significant difference between the health of the children found living in marijuana grow operations and the comparison group of children, based on their reported health at the time, and their prescription history. The document analysis revealed sharp distinctions between the legislation and policies that direct social work practice with grow operations in British Columbia and the neighbouring province of Alberta. Finally, although concerns about the health and safety of children living in grow operations legitimizes social work intervention, these concerns do not appear to be key factors in the social work decisions to remove children from their parents’ care.