Arkansas Takes Custody of Newborns Under New Law

 JANUARY 6, 2006-Posted at 12:05 p.m.-CST

LITTLE ROCK,AR -   Arkansas has taken custody of 37 newborns in seven months under a new law that requires doctors to report illegal drug use among pregnant women.

Garrett's Law, named for the grandson of one of the measure's proponents, was adopted by legislators last year. The law requires medical professionals to report to the state's child-abuse hotlineinstances when they suspect a newborn has been affected by the mother's illegal drug use. It leaves up to medical professionals when to test a mother for drugs.

Child-welfare administrators say there were 209 reports under the new law from 49 counties during the seven-month period from May through November. Eighty-eight child-welfare cases were opened.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)