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  • Writer's pictureAnn Wrixon

The Rise in Foster Care Placement Driven by Opioid Epidemic

Updated: Dec 25, 2019

According to a recent analysis there has been a 147% increase in foster care entries from 2000 to 2017 in the United States due to parental drug use even as other reasons for removing children from families have declined. Children entering the foster care system due to parental drug use are more often five years old or younger, white, and from the southern part of the United States.

According to the research "when children enter foster care because of parental drug use, episode duration is longer and less likely to result in reunification with the parent.5 This is of special concern because of the large proportion of children experiencing entry before age 5 years, a critical period for forming stable attachments. . .Policy makers must ensure that the needs of this new wave of children entering foster care because of parental drug use are being met though high-quality foster care interventions. These have been shown to mitigate some of the adverse effects of early childhood deprivation and disruptions in attachment."

The researchers, Dr. Angelica Meinhofer, and Dr. Yohanis Anglero-Diaz, completed a detailed analysis of data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System that is kept by the federal government. Their findings were published as a Research Letter online on July 15, 2019 by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics.

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