Tags: drug addiction | foster care | opioid crisis

Drug Addiction Causing More Children to Be Placed in Foster Care

Drug Addiction Causing More Children to Be Placed in Foster Care
(Alita Xander/Dreamstime.com)

By with Michael R. Shannon
Tuesday, 13 August 2019 10:44 AM Current | Bio | Archive

National Public Radio — our taxpayer subsidized state media — reports government is still separating children from their parents. These separations continue to come as a result of bad decisions by the parents, but unlike the border separations, today’s instance is affecting U.S. citizens.

Between the years 2000 to 2017, there were a staggering 1.2 million instances of children being placed in foster care because their parents were too drug-addled to properly care for their own children. At the turn of the century, 15 percent of the children placed in foster care were due to parental drug addiction. By 2017 the percentage had more than doubled. Over one-third (36 percent) of the removals were due to drugs.

These enforced separations are bad for children of any age, but the drug-induced instances are particularly harmful because the children “were more likely to be 5 years old or younger than children removed for other reasons.”

These appalling figures come to us courtesy of Angelica Meinhofer of Weill Cornell Medicine, “A lot of the work out there [on the opioid epidemic] has focused on mortality and overdoses and how it affects adults. [It's] less known how the epidemic might spill over to children. And that's something I'm trying to shed light on.”

Iowa child welfare worker and Associate Professor of Social Work April Dirks has seen what’s happening first hand, “I'd say it's a crisis at this point.”

For a time, the U.S. foster care system was reporting good news. Foster care placements steadily declined for just over a decade. Then in 2012 it began to increase. Over the next five years the number jumped 8 percent.

Dirks supports reform of the foster care system. We do, too. More money spent in upgrading foster care programs is an investment in the future. And part of that process should be energetic recruitment of foster care families and stringent qualifications for becoming a foster parent.

Dirks suggests more focus on the parents. She favors an alliance of the foster care system and ‘drug courts.’ Those courts would require tailored and monitored treatment for drug-addicted parents instead of incarceration. The court’s mission would be to encourage the parents to overcome their addiction and be eligible to regain custody of their children.

Dirks said, “If they're going to remove the children, the best thing [to do] would be immediately treating the parent.” That might help if the parental monitoring continued after the children were returned to the home, but we’re not optimistic.

The problem with many family experts is they are all “compassion” and no coercion. Nabarun Dasgupta, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a case in point. He said, “But long-term remedies will only become apparent when we take a compassionate approach to supporting people who use drugs to maintain meaningful and healthy lives.”

His recommendation is universal prekindergarten, which has absolutely nothing to do with drug addiction and children. Unless your goal is to free the parent to find drugs during the day.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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Between the years 2000 to 2017, there were a staggering 1.2 million instances of children being placed in foster care because their parents were too drug-addled to properly care for their own children.
drug addiction, foster care, opioid crisis
595
2019-44-13
Tuesday, 13 August 2019 10:44 AM
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