LEOMINSTER, Mass.

Some social workers resign over child strip search policy

State social workers in Leominster say they are forced to strip search children receiving social services when allegations or a history of physical abuse is at issue.

Social worker Joseph Manna, who works in the Leominster office of the Department of Children and Families and also is a vice president of the union representing caseworkers, said some social workers have quit because of the strip search policy.

Cayenne Isaksen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, said in a statement that workers view a child’s body to document physical abuse if it’s evident. She was not more specific.

Manna said the policy of “viewing bodies” in the Leominster office requires social workers to view children who are not investigated for physical abuse. He said state law does not permit such searches.

CONCORD, N.H.

As lawmakers consider bill, state cites marijuana survey

As New Hampshire lawmakers consider a bill that would legalize up to an ounce of marijuana for adults, the state Health Department is drawing attention to research showing high marijuana use among 12-to-17-year-olds.

The information – based on the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health – shows that about one in 10 adolescents in New Hampshire report regular use of marijuana, the ninth highest in the country. The state rate for 18-to-25-year-olds is the fifth highest in the country.

The study says the percentage of those who perceived great risk in using marijuana at least once a month is lower than national and regional averages.

It also says in 2012, 80 percent of 12-to-17-year-olds who entered state-funded treatment facilities sought treatment for marijuana dependence.

WEYMOUTH, Mass.

Two deaths during labor prompt hospital’s review

South Shore Hospital in Weymouth says it’s conducting an internal review and has notified the state after two women died from complications during childbirth in one month.

The Enterprise News reported that hospital spokeswoman Sarah Darcy said Sunday the deaths last Wednesday and Dec. 14 appear to be unpredictable and unpreventable.

In Massachusetts, five women on average have died each year during the past 10 years as a result of childbirth-related circumstances.

FRANKLIN, Mass.

Hundreds mourn two kids who perished in hope chest

Hundreds of mourners filled a Franklin church to mourn the loss of two children who died after being trapped in a hope chest.

The Rev. Cannon Robert Edmunds said at the funeral at St. Mary Church in Franklin on Monday that 8-year-old Lexi Munroe and her brother, 7-year-old Sean Munroe, did nothing wrong. They were just playing.

— From news service reports