Parental Substance Abuse and Its Effects on Foster Care

By Jordan Upton

Kimberly Scott, executive director of AGAPE, is a licensed clinical social worker. Her post graduate work focused on children, families, substance abuse and schizophrenia research. During her work in mental health hospitals, federal prisons, hospice clinics, and private practice she has gained considerable experience assessing children and adults with issues regarding substance abuse. Mrs. Scott said that the current national opioid crisis has definitely impacted her work at AGAPE.

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“We’ve probably had at least 20 opportunities to place babies that have been born addicted to opiates,” Mrs. Scott said in June 2018.

One of those babies, a little boy, was in the hospital detoxing from drugs for five weeks. “It’s so devastating that these little people have to start out like that,” Mrs. Scott said. Luckily, AGAPE was able to place this boy with a loving family to care for him after his release from the hospital.

39% of children entering foster care in North Carolina can attribute their entry to parental substance abuse. It is likely that AGAPE will have numerous other opportunities to place children who have been affected by opiate abuse. The need for caring foster families is greater than ever. If you want to learn more about how you can help, contact AGAPE today for more information.

The Opioid Epidemic and Its Effects in North Carolina

By Jordan Upton

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Last year, Governor Roy Cooper announced a $31 million grant to address the opioid epidemic in North Carolina.

Gov. Cooper said, “This grant will help further our commitment to fight this epidemic that is destroying families and lives across our state. This is a problem we must solve for the safety and well-being of our citizens. Our families, friends and neighbors need our help.”

The grant is welcome relief to our community since four North Carolina cities rank among the nation’s worst for opioid abuse. The funds however are only being directed to prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for individuals with opioid use disorders.

There is no mention of increasing resources for the families, those indirectly impacted by another’s opioid abuse, which in most cases is children. According to Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Maryland, about 32% of children nationwide entered foster care in 2015 because of parental substance abuse. North Carolina’s numbers were above the national average, with 39% of children entering foster care due to parental substance abuse.

During this epidemic, the health and safety of children are at risk, and we face an increasing need for compassionate foster parents. There were 10,324 children in NC’s foster care system at the last count by Child Trends. AGAPE of NC is ready to provide training and support for those who are interested in helping the most vulnerable of North Carolina’s citizens, the innocent children left in the wake of the opioid crisis.

Source: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/upl...

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

By Jordan Upton

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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.

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/23/573021632/the-foster-care-system-is-flooded-with-children-of-the-opioid-epidemic

https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/21/health/drug-overdoses-2016-final-numbers/index.html

www.drugabuse.gov