The number of children in foster care has been steadily growing for that past 5 years. In the 2 years from FY 2015 to FY 2017 there was an increase of 15,595 children. The Department of Health and Human Services won't likely have the FY 2018 numbers for some time, but if the trend continues we could have close to 450,000 children in need of foster care. This challenge coupled with the fact that the opioid epidemic continues to grow, means we need qualified and loving Resource Parents more than ever.
The National Council for Adoption responded to the rising statistics in the article referenced below. You can read the full article here.
Much of the increase of children entering care in recent years has been attributed to the growing opioid crisis affecting families across the country. The AFCARS report has included the circumstances associated with a child’s removal since FY 2015. In just three years, parental drug abuse cases have grown 13% from 86,000 in FY 2015 to nearly 97,000 this past year. Child drug abuse cases have also grown slightly, with more than 6,000 cases per year.
“The most recent AFCARS report is a stark reminder of the work those of us in child welfare have before us,” says NCFA vice president Ryan Hanlon. “Finding families for over 123,000 children and youth waiting on adoption is a challenging but achievable goal. We are grateful to the nearly 60,000 families who welcomed a child into their homes last year, and we encourage those who are considering adoption to take the first step and connect with a public agency in their state.”
The Administration for Children & Families, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote an in depth article on the increasing number of children in foster care, citing an increase in parental substance abuse issues, including opioids. You can read the full article here.
“The continued trend of parental substance abuse is very concerning, especially when it means children must enter foster care as a result,” said Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for children and families at ACF. “The seriousness of parental substance abuse, including the abuse of opioids, is an issue we at HHS will be addressing through prevention, treatment and recovery-support measures.”
The Children’s Bureau at ACF recently awarded 18 grants totaling more than $12.5 million to help improve the well-being and permanency outcomes for children, infants and families who are affected by a parent’s or caregiver’s substance misuse, including opioid abuse.
Services provided through the regional partnership grants and the collaborative community court team sites will address needs for families experiencing substance abuse through various activities, such as early intervention, trauma-informed services delivery and family engagement.
Addressing the opioid crisis is one of the three top clinical priorities at HHS, and the Department has committed to using its full expertise and resources to combat the epidemic. In April 2017, HHS launched its comprehensive, evidence-based opioid strategy that provides the overarching framework to leverage the expertise and resources of HHS agencies in a strategic and coordinated manner. The HHS opioid strategy aims to:
- Improve access to prevention, treatment and recovery support services
- Target the availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs
- Strengthen public health data reporting and collection
- Support cutting-edge research
- Advance the practice of pain management
The Department of Health and Human Services is doing what they can to combat the opioid crisis. Hopefully we will see real policy change in the coming years. We are attacking this crisis head-on as well through our treatment centers. The secondary crisis of children left without a stable family home is one that we are deeply concerned with and we continue to do our best to provide these children with a place to recover and grow. We need the support of community members who are willing to become Resource Parents. If you have room in your home and in your heart, please click here to inquire.