SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND CHILD WELFARE RESOURCES

SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND CHILD WELFARE RESOURCES

2/2/2017

While parental substance abuse is not a new challenge for child welfare agencies, the current opioid epidemic is proving to have an immeasurable impact on foster care caseloads and child welfare budgets across the country.

Child with flower

A great deal of anecdotal information exists about the opioid epidemic and increasing foster care caseloads, but little or no data directly links the two. Here is what we do know:

  • In FY2015, there were nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the U.S., the highest number since 2008. In the same year, nearly 270,000 children entered care, representing the highest number of children entering care since 2008
  • The number of children under the age of 1 entering foster care is increasing and has become the highest percentage, by age group, of children entering foster care; from 39,697 in 2011 to 47,219 in 2015.
  • The number of children experiencing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is on the rise; from 3.4 per 1000 hospital births in 2009 to 5.8 per 1000 hospital births in 2012.
  • From 1999-2014, the incidence of parental alcohol or other drug use as a reason for removal more than doubled, from 15.8-31.8 percent.

Many resources and reports are available from this website: http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/substance-abuse-and-child-welfare-resources.aspx 

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