The Opioid Crisis: Causing Thousands of Children to be Left in the Foster Care System

By Jordan Upton


The opioid crisis has been ravishing communities for years and continues to build. CNN reported that in 2016 more than 63,000 overdosed on opioids, which is an umbrella term for prescription medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as synthetic or modified painkillers such as fentanyl. This number is more than those who died of breast cancer (41,070). These staggering numbers are leaving thousands of young children without families, who ultimately are forced into foster care.

As NPR reported in December of last year, Indiana, for example, had their child welfare agencies strained for resources after they jumped from having 2,500 children in their services in 2014 to over 5,500 in 2017. This is only an example showing one state in the country that is facing this dilemma. And, while the opioid crisis has been labeled as a public health emergency, funds are not being allocated to assist in the areas of child welfare services.

This flooding of children into the foster care and adoption agencies is causing strain on the services themselves, the employees, and most importantly, the children who are put into these unfortunate circumstances.