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“It’s discussed and presented and looked at by caseworkers,” said Judith Eveland, a program manager for the agency.

However, Miss Eveland said the agency would welcome regulations on restricting smoking in the homes of foster children.

“We certainly would be supportive [given] all the health issues associated with smoking,” she said.

Adele L. Abrams, an attorney in Prince George’s County specializing in child custody, divorce and family law, said smoking has been a factor in several custody disputes in recent years.

“Restraints might be put on visitation if one parent insists upon smoking or bringing in a girlfriend or boyfriend who smokes,” said Ms. Abrams, whose practice serves the District and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.

She said children have a “more protective status” and that laws should protect children from secondhand smoke just as they are protected from parents and guardians who drink excessively or use drugs.

“Frankly, if it was a factor before the divorce, it’s going to be a factor after the divorce,” she said, “particularly if the child has asthma or some other respiratory disease.”

Mindy Good, spokeswoman for the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, said foster parents are not prohibited from smoking, but prospective ones are screened to fit a child’s best interests.

“People who smoke are not barred from becoming foster parents,” she said. “However, we are careful about children who have certain medical conditions. We would not, for example, place a child who has asthma in the home of a smoking foster parent. We are careful about those issues.”