06/24/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Keystone Heights, FL—Child-welfare authorities are investigating a teenage mother after a controversial photo of her 11-month-old child pretending to smoke a bong was released via the Internet. While the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is looking into whether the infant could face any potential safety and/or health dangers at home, the mother claims the photograph was taken in jest, according to a Wednesday, June 23, 2010 News 4 Jax report.

Though it is not clear how widely the photo has circulated the Web, DCF officials are focusing on the issue in a stern manner. “We are alarmed that any parent would take pictures of their child next to what is obviously drug paraphernalia… We would never leave a child in a home where there are concerns about whether or not the child is safe,” stated DCF spokesperson John Harrell.

The baby’s unidentified 19-year-old mother spoke with Channel 4 through a Facebook message, in which she provided the following message in response to the contentious photo:

“If u look at the picture u can see that there is no bowl in the TABACCO (sic) pipe. And i took a pic to show one (expletive) person and it was a mistake. I would never ever ever let him get high… Do you realize how serious this is? i could go to jail and he can be taken away from me. WHY would you do something so (expletive) stupid? i know what i did was stupid but i would NEVER put by baby in harm. im (sic) so nice to everyone idk (I don’t know) why you would do this to me.”

The mother alleged she was to undergo a drug evaluation on Friday. The infant will also reportedly be evaluated by a pediatrician as a means of determining whether the child has been cared for properly.

DCF investigators have apparently visited the infant’s home twice since the investigation was initially launched. Department officials noted that if the baby ingested any drugs, or if they were used around him, the mother could face serious child neglect-related charges.

The probe continues.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Lawyers.

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