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Ohio Opioid Epidemic Putting a Strain on Foster Care

Public Children Services Association of Ohio logo

A recent survey by an Ohio child welfare association found at least half of the children taken into custody last year had parents on who were addicted to drugs. That's causing a straing on the child welfare systems across the state.

According to the survey, 75 percent of the 913 children authorities removed from homes in Cuyahoga County last year was due to one or more parents' drug addiction. In 11-percent of those cases, the parents were hooked on opioids says Angela Sausser, Executive Director of Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

The non-profit organization surveyed all 88 county child and welfare agencies and found there are close to 14-thousand children in foster care state wide.  Sausser says that is 25-hundred more children than three years ago.  She says the opioid epidemic is to blame.

"They are really in the invisible victims. But the one area that has not addressed yet is the impact on children. We are relying heavily on kinship families, so relatives of children, to take care of these poor victims."

Sausser says there is a need for more foster parents.

In Summit County, 519 children were removed from their homes last year.  About a quarter of them came from parents who were addicted to opioids.