Report: parental drug abuse leads to more kids in foster care

wwny Report: parental drug abuse leads to more kids in foster care

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - More kids are being put into foster care due to drug abuse by parents, according to a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics published Monday.

Between 2000 and 2017, kids entering foster care that had parents with drug issues rose from 14 to 36 percent.

Jefferson County Department of Social Service Commissioner Teresa Gaffney has noted a rise in reports of kids who’s parents abused drugs.

“There has been an uptick in the number of child protective reports coming in with an initial allegation of drug use,” she said.

A 41 percent up tick over five years to be exact.

56 of the 115 kids currently in Jefferson County foster care come from homes of drug abuse.

Executive Director of Pivot Prevention Services Bill Bowman says it’s hard to ignore that the two are related.

“While you can’t prove it scientifically, you see the numbers, and they’re going up. It’s just, it’s obvious it has a detrimental impact,” he said.

Gaffney says DSS focuses on reuniting families after a child enters foster care.

When it comes to kids with parents abusing drugs, the goal is not always easily achievable.

The report on kids being put into foster due to parental drug abuse says it is less likely for these kids to be reunited with their families. Bowman says the process can take years.

“Addiction is insidious, and recovery sometimes takes time. It sometimes takes multiple attempts. It’s rare that someone wants to quit using a chemical and quits immediately,” he said.

Gaffney says DSS works with Pivot to put parents into drug treatment.

The reunification process begins when a parent is testing clean and is determined to be responding well to treatments.

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