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Legislation Relating to Unborn Children in Need of Protection or Services (1997 Wisconsin Act 292)

NCJ Number
Date Published
29 pages
This report describes 1997 Wisconsin Act 292, a law relating to unborn children who are at substantial risk of serious physical injuries due to the habitual lack of self-control of their expectant mothers in the use of alcohol, controlled drugs, or controlled drug analogs; this law has been called the "cocaine mom" legislation.
The law amends provisions of the Children's Code to apply them to unborn children who are need of protection or services and their mothers. The law defines unborn child as a human being from the time of fertilization to the time of birth. The law applies to behavior on July 1, 1998 or later, but it does not preclude consideration of behavior prior to that date in determining whether the lack of self-control is habitual or is habitually exhibited to a severe degree or in determining the risk to the child. The law's provisions cover custody, intake, informal disposition, court-ordered assessment, procedures at hearings, disposition, confidentiality of records, and other topics.