Addiction can do tons of damage to a person's life. Their health deteriorates and over time they are a shell of the person they once were. Their nutrition is horrendous because many addicts choose drugs over food. They have a hard time keeping a steady job because of the ups and downs of drug addiction, particularly the withdrawals from the drugs. If you are always sick until you get your fix, it is hard to concentrate and be a good employee. It's hard to keep a steady job let alone taking care of yourself when you are addicted. But what is even scarier is the fact that many addicts have children. These poor kids are subject to something they have no control over. Their parents are sick and they sometimes have to fend for themselves.
Children services in many state have been filing for grant money to help with the overload of cases they are facing due to the opiate epidemic. What was once a problem on a small scale, has become such an huge issue that they are having trouble keeping up. In the state of Ohio, the Athens County Children Services announced that they are asking for grant money from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Efficiency and Innovation Fund. The agency is one of many public children service agencies from across the state of Ohio competing for this one-time funding opportunity.
The Executive Director from the Athens County Children Services Cathy Hill said, “We are seeing a significant impact from opiate addiction on children and families here in Athens. We have seen the average number of children in agency custody grow from 68 to 86 in 2014. More children are coming into care, and they are staying in care longer. We are seeing an increase in infants and young children coming into care. This is directly related to the opiate epidemic that Athens and other counties in Ohio are facing.”
What is most depressing is the fact that the opiate epidemic is affecting the number of children who are reunited with their biological parents. “We are currently only able to reunify about one-third of the children coming into care with their birth family, and that rate is unacceptable,” said Hill. She further explained that the agency reunification rate should be more than 60 percent.
“With current service models we are not seeing the treatment and recovery outcomes we expect for our children and families. The bright spot in our reunification data is that another third of our children in custody are being cared for by kin or relatives,” Hill added. The remaining third of children the court places in permanent custody and the agency works with them to find permanent adoptive homes.
The children of addicts never asked to be put in the situation they are in. They face adversity right from the beginning of their lives. People see the immediate effects of the opiate epidemic, but these children are the long-term. Without their biological parents and living in foster home, they may not get the love and attention they need. If you or someone you know is addicted to opiates, please seek professional medical help before it's too late.