HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — A mom in Hancock County is pushing for stricter laws after she says her baby ingested cocaine.
Jennifer Trattner supports Senate Bill 323 which is making its way through the state legislature. She’s motivated by what she calls a painful few years.
Her 2-year-old son Asher is active. He constantly plays with cars and loves spending time with his mom. Trattner said he’s come a long way. “It shouldn’t be this hard to fight for our children’s safety,” she said.
She said she’s been trying to protect her son after a scary visit to the hospital in 2017 when Asher was only 7-months-old. Trattner claimed her baby got sick after his father, Kevin Bunch, came to the house to watch him.
Doctors told her Asher tested positive for cocaine. “You are joking,” she said. “You need to retest him. You are wrong.”
Authorities charged Bunch with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury. Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said he’s accused of leaving illegal drugs in an area accessible to a child. The judge set a plea hearing for May.
Trattner now has full custody of Asher, but she said the courts still granted Bunch supervised visits.
“We are giving our offenders more rights than we are giving our children, and that is unacceptable,” she said.
She went to state lawmakers and helped write SB323. If passed, it would allow judges to require drug tests for parents who get visitation rights if a court finds the parent has a history of unlawful drug use within the past five years or if the parent is likely using illegal drugs.
“If I can help any of those people, that’s what I want to do,” she said.
The bill also asks for courts to order supervised visits if a person has been convicted of child molesting or child exploitation. SB323 unanimously passed the Senate. On Monday, it passed in the House Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers will send it to the House floor for a vote next.
Trattner said fighting for her son and other families, too, is part of her healing process.
“Taken our pain and made it into something more meaningful,” she said.