More Children in Foster Care Due to Opioid Crisis

You may think the fact that there is an opioid epidemic taking thousands of lives is bad enough, but consider the toll on children. There are so many negative points of opioid abuse but the effects on children have to be one of the worst.

Increase in Foster Care Placement

The University of South Florida’s College of Public Health looked into the effects of the opioid crisis on children and found that in 2015, for every 1,000 kids in Florida, two had to be removed due to parental neglect. This is a 129% increase from 2012. Many children no longer live at home because of parental neglect, parents incarceration, or parents’ death from overdoses. Some can live with grandparents but most get shuffled through the foster care system.

Link Between Opioid Abuse and Foster Care

Between 2012-2015, the rate of opioid prescriptions increased by nine percent in Florida. In the Kansas City metro area, between 2010 and 2015, opioid prescriptions leveled out but the overdose rate continues to grow, largely due to users moving on to heroin. There is no hard data proving the link between the influx of children in foster care and parental opioid abuse; however, it is evident that there is a link when you look in almost any state. For example, in Ohio, there are 14,000 kids waiting for foster homes and only 7,000 available.

Rural Areas Hit Hardest

It’s been noted that the highest rates of opioid abuse in Kansas and Missouri are the rural areas. Researchers and doctors believe this is due to the agricultural, labor-intensive work, combined with fewer alternative options (such as physical therapy). Children in these situations are often left unnoticed as well because homes are so far apart, it’s not like in the city where a neighbor in the next apartment will see an uncared for child.

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