How is Cuyahoga County dealing with increasing cases of heroin addicted babies?

Posted at 4:34 PM, Feb 16, 2017

The youngest heroin addicts in Ohio haven't even been born yet. You heard from a Cleveland doctor first on News 5, about the spike in opiate dependent babies - exposed by their addicted mothers, but what's next for them?

News 5 went to Cuyahoga County's Children and Family Services to find out. 

"If a call is made to our hotline that a child has been born drug exposed, we will investigate one hundred percent of those," Deputy Director Tamara Chapman-Wagner told News 5.

Investigation starts at the hospital, and Chapman-Wagner said that's typically where that first call comes from. 

"We interview the mom, talk with doctors, talk with staff. See how the child is doing, and make a determination," she said. 

Adding, often times, mom and baby will leave the hospital together; "especially if she's willing to enter treatment, especially if she has a good support system within her family."

But that is not always the case. "If the parents' addiction is so strong, they can't take care of them-self let alone a child," she said that's where their increasing caseloads get tricky for their department, and for more and more children here in Ohio.  

"We have less foster homes available because we've had an increase in children coming into care," Chapman-Wagner explained.