Opioids contribute to number of children in foster care

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The Opiod Epidemic remains an crisis nationwide. However, other national rates are rising as a result of that.

The number of children removed from their homes due to parental drug use is soaring. The Journal of the Medical Association of Pediatrics found that of the kids who went into foster care in 2017, 36 percent of them have parents who use drugs.

Tiffany Everette is a foster mother who said she witnesses this issue far too often.

“Probably a majority of our cases, I would say at least 90 percent, if not more, have been because of the drug epidemic, because of parents’ addictions,” Everette said.

This adds a lot of pressure to our already strained foster care system. Children are now flooding the system at alarming rates as America’s drug crisis grows.

Scott Miller is the Executive Director of Just for Kids. He said he works with kids who had this type of experience.

“They are finding that so many families they are dealing with, are not protective parents anymore and that the drug epidemic is really playing into that,” Miller said.

While the drug epidemic is stealing parents away from their children, alienating the addicted may be just as damaging as the drug use itself. Everette said societal judgement only alienates parents struggling with addiction.

“Most of these parents, that are now dealing with child welfare, were products of being in child welfare when they were kids. So I mean, when they were kids we wanted to help them, right? We wanted to save them, we wanted to take care of them. But now that they are adults, we just pass them off,” Everette said.

She said community support is key, and to support them, we should consider the individual and their needs.

“Every case is different and really I think we need to evaluate from the beginning and not have a cookie cutter evaluation to determine whether or not this parent can succeed on suboxone, whether or not this parent needs intense outpatient therapy,” Everette explained.

The research shows children removed from their homes are more likely to experience trauma, which could lead to drug use. From there, the cycle continues.

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