Opioid epidemic forcing more Ohio kids in foster care

Posted at 11:35 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 23:43:25-04

Ohio has seen a drastic increase in the demand for foster care over the last five years and experts say at least half of the cases are due to parental drug abuse. 

According to the latest Public Childrens’ Services Association numbers obtained by News 5, 50 percent of the Ohio children taken into custody last year had parental drug use identified at the time of the removal. 

Of those cases, 57 percent had parents who used opiates including heroin. 

Karl Cetina, Director of the Juvenile Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities Program for Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, said the impact is noticeable in Northeast Ohio. 

“Sometimes the kids forgotten about and they become the collateral damage,” Cetina said.  

In Cuyahoga County, 913 children were taken into custody in 2015. Seventy-five percent had parental drug abuse.  

Cetina says children sometimes need temporary placement during a parent’s bout with addiction. 

“Or the parents end up dead and then you’re looking at foster care and adoption issues,” Cetina explained.

Catholic Charities’ TASC program works to prevent youth from becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. He said many of the kids have experienced trauma, including the sight of a parent or family member overdosing.