We hear about it every day. All of the arrests and the amounts of deadly overdoses happening all over the country. No one area or state is safe from the destruction that opiate addiction creates. One of the worst effects of opiate abuse is what happens to children who have parents with this issue. These children are often neglected and their parents do not take proper care of them.
The state of Vermont has released some staggering numbers that correlate with the rest of the country. Vermont’s defender general says juvenile court dockets are “out of control’ and Vermont’s chief administrative judge says “if this is the new norm, we’re in trouble.” They are referring the large number of cases in abuse and neglect. The rise in addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers are keeping the family court system busy. The abuse and neglect cases filed in the courts more than doubled over six years, reaching 1,060 in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
According to Ken Schatz, Commissioner of the state Department for Children and Families, says the state has about 1,300 children in custody, up 33 percent since the start of 2014. There is a dramatic increase in the amount of babies born to addicted mothers and these babies are then immediately placed in a neonatal abstinence program to help the baby come off of the drugs. They normally give the baby small amount of a prescription opiate to help it through the withdrawal process and eventually taking them off completely. Those children have a major disadvantage even after they go through the withdrawal process. Many may not have their parents around. In an ideal situation, the mother can get treatment and stay clean long enough to get her children back and move on with their lives.
The rise in opiate addiction is causing a rise in cases involving children and their parents. It is creating larger work loads for all in the judicial system and according to many workers in the field, the rules are starting to become more strict. Children are being removed from homes more aggressively and they are demanding more from the parents before the children can go home and the parents can be deemed responsible parents.
The saddest part about the problems involving the children is that the kids have no say in what is happening to them. They want nothing more than to stay with their mom and dad but if both parents are abusing drugs in the home, the children will not be seeing them. Parents with addictions who lose their children need to do whatever it takes to get clean. I personally could not imagine having my children taken from me and I know that if I was in a situation where I had to get clean to keep or get my kids back, I would start withdrawal immediately.