From: Pew Charitable Trusts — STATELINE
October 9, 2015
Timothy Dick’s office receives all kinds of reports of child abuse and neglect. Perhaps a child has a broken bone, or is underfed, or has been left home alone for too long.
But when caseworkers drive to the child’s home to investigate, they often discover the same root cause. “What we’re finding more and more is that the parents are addicted to opiates. And more often than not, it’s heroin,” said Dick, assistant director of child protective services in Clermont County, Ohio.
In Ohio and other states ravaged by the latest drug epidemic, officials say substance abuse by parents is a major reason for the growing number of children in foster care. In Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, more than half the children placed in foster care this year have parents who are addicted to opiates, Dick said.
The number of children living in foster care started rising in 2013 after years of decline. Last year, about 415,000 children were living in foster care, according to federal statistics released last week. Fifteen percent of them hadn’t yet passed their second birthday.
It’s not clear how many child-welfare cases nationwide involve parents abusing drugs or alcohol, said Nancy Young, director of the federally funded National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare.
But she suspects that most cases do: “That’s what all the caseworkers and judges are saying.”
Read the entire article here: