“populations of children in foster or state care has risen by 15 percent to 30 percent in just the last four years”
While Democrats and the media dial their outrage up to ten about the children of illegal immigrants, another crisis is continuing to unfold which affects thousands of American kids. The opioid crisis is still happening, and separates children from their parents – sometimes permanently.
Emily Birnbaum and Maya Lora of The Hill report that foster care systems in the United States are overwhelmed:
Opioid crisis sending thousands of children into foster care
The opioid epidemic ravaging states and cities across the country has sent a record number of children into foster and state care systems, taxing limited government resources and testing a system that is already at or near capacity.
An analysis of foster care systems around the country shows the number of children entering state or foster care rising sharply, especially in states hit hardest by opioid addiction. The children entering state care are younger, and they tend to stay in the system longer, than ever before.
Among states hardest hit by the epidemic, the populations of children in foster or state care has risen by 15 percent to 30 percent in just the last four years, The Hill’s analysis shows. In other states, the number of children referred to child welfare programs has ballooned, even if those kids do not end up in foster care.
“A huge number of children [are] coming into the system now because of parental addiction to opioids that a lot of time has been brought on by pain medication,” said Wendi Turner, executive director of the Ohio Family Care Association.
The report goes on to state that the number of kids in foster care was declining up until 2010, when the numbers began to spike again, largely due to opioid related deaths.
The crisis is also putting a strain on schools. Kimberly Hefling reports at Politico:
Cash-strapped schools struggle to help children of opioid epidemic
The nation’s schools increasingly must tend to yet another crisis produced by the opioid epidemic: the trauma inflicted on the children of drug abusers.
Teachers console children whose parents have died, gone to jail or disappeared as foster care rates increase, often resulting from drug abuse. Sleep-deprived youngsters come to school hungry and dirty, describing drug busts in their homes. Sometimes, the abusers are the students themselves. Overloaded school counselors struggle to assist hundreds of kids and parents.
America’s biggest public health crisis since AIDS has seeped into cash-strapped schools, placing educators on the silent front lines of the epidemic at a time when many already feel overtaxed as a result of budget cuts and chronic shortages of school counselors, psychologists and social workers.
This video report from the Wall Street Journal was produced in 2016 but is still just as powerful today:
While all decent people want humane treatment for the innocent children of illegal immigrants, we should not forget that thousands of American children are also in a crisis that gets barely as much attention.
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