Since 2012, foster care caseloads have been on the rise. This follows a decade of declines in the number of cases in the foster care system. Between 2012 and 2017, children living in foster care or entering foster care went up by 12% and 8%, respectively. In the 2017 fiscal year, the number of children entering foster care because of parental drug abuse went up for the sixth year in a row. The rate nationally was 131 children entering foster care per 100,000 children. This represents a five percent increase from the previous year. 

Since 2012, foster care caseloads have been on the rise. This follows a decade of declines in the number of cases in the foster care system. Between 2012 and 2017, children living in foster care or entering foster care went up by 12% and 8%, respectively. In the 2017 fiscal year, the number of children entering foster care because of parental drug abuse went up for the sixth year in a row. The rate nationally was 131 children entering foster care per 100,000 children. This represents a five percent increase from the previous year. 

According to Child Trends, of the more than 268,000 children under the age of 18 removed from their families in 2017, 36% listed parental drug abuse as the reason for that removal. Child Trends is a research organization focused on issues related to child welfare. Most states in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 saw an increase in both the number of children as well as the rate of children who entered foster care because of parental drug abuse or drug addiction.

A court will often get involved in issues related to parental drug use and custody either when there are complaints to the court itself, or by the state through the Department of Child Protective Services. When substance misuse is an issue to the point that it’s affecting a parent’s ability to care for his or her children, a court can opt to remove the child from that home.

These trends are true for the foster care system in Florida as well. Parental drug use and custody are growing issues, as is also the case nationwide. Foster care in Florida saw 7,357 children under the age of three entering the system in the fiscal year 2017. Over the past few years, the number of kids entering the foster care system in Florida has gone up by about 11%. Furthermore, according to the Florida Guardian ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz, much of this is due to the opioid crisis (such as drugs like Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, Morphine, and Fentanyl).

Along with children being removed from the home later in their life, reasons why children are in foster care can also relate to what happens at birth. For example, a child may be removed from parental care if it is born with drug withdrawal syndrome from opioids, which is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is born every 15 minutes in the U.S. who suffers from NAS.

Foster care statistics show there actually was a decrease in the percentage of children entering the foster system in Florida in 2017 due to parental drug abuse, but it was slight at -2%. The rate is still pervasively high in Florida and significantly higher in many states around the country.

Family Programs & Workshops for Addiction

There are things that are being done to prevent a child from being removed from a home and placed in foster care when substance misuse is an issue. First, the federal government is working to take action to deal with the rise in foster care admissions due to substance misuse. In 2018, the Family First Act was passed. This legislation mandates an overhaul of the foster care system and puts more money into at-home parenting classes, substance misuse treatment, and mental health care.

Beyond that, seeking drug addiction treatment is essential. The family role in addiction recovery is an important one. Addiction can cause broken family relationships, but when someone receives comprehensive treatment that includes help for family members of drug addicts, it can be beneficial for everyone. By helping people receive compassionate care for addiction, it may start to reduce the number of children who end up in foster care.

To learn more about the family role in addiction recovery and drug addiction treatment programs, contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach today.