The Opioid Plague’s Youngest Victims : Children in Foster Care - The New York Times
Les conséquences de la crise des opioides vont bien au delà des overdoses, mais touchent les enfants délaissés par leurs parents. Merci la Sackler family.
As more Americans struggle with opioid addiction and find themselves unable to perform their duties as parents, children are pouring into state and county foster care systems. In Montana, the number of children in foster care has doubled since 2010. In Georgia, it has increased by 80 percent, and in West Virginia, by 45 percent. Altogether, nearly 440,000 kids are spending this holiday season in foster care, compared with 400,000 in 2011.
The data points to drug abuse as a primary reason, and experts have identified opioids in particular. Neglect remains the main reason children enter foster care. But from 2015 to 2016, the increase in the number of children who came into foster care as a result of parental drug abuse was far greater than the increases in the 14 other categories, like housing instability, according to data from the federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.
Child welfare agencies across the country are doing heroic work, but they simply cannot find enough foster families to meet the growing demand. In some places, kids in foster care are sleeping in social workers’ offices. Many children are shipped off to prisonlike institutions where they languish for months, even years, without loving families. And many more bounce among multiple foster homes, deepening their feelings of abandonment, disrupting their education and severing their relationships with relatives, teachers and friends just when they need them most.
The consequences for these kids, and our country, are alarming. Children who have been in foster care are five times more likely to abuse drugs. As many as 70 percent of youths in the juvenile justice system have spent time in the child welfare system. One-third of homeless young adults were previously in foster care. Black children are twice as likely as white children to wind up in foster care and face its devastating effects, a symptom of our country’s disparate treatment of black and white families who experience similar challenges..