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Ohio's Opioid Crisis Claims Parents, Drives Up Foster Care

photo of opioid pills and bottles
The Public Children Services Association of Ohio says half of all Ohio children in foster care had parental drug use.

On the same day that the federal government released stats showing Ohio has the second-highest opioid death rate in the nation, the state’s children services’ agencies are saying their system is straining under the pressure of the deadly crisis.

There are more than 15,500 kids in foster care on any given day in Ohio. And Angela Sausser with the Public Children Services Association of Ohio said that’s likely to go to more than 20,000 by 2020.

“Based on our projections and where we’re going to be with children and foster care in just the next three years, there’s no way our counties can continue to primarily fund children services on their own," Sausser said.

Even if the state doubled what it spends on children services – which now is around 10 percent - it would still be last in the nation for funding these agencies, Sausser said.

There are a thousand more children in foster care now than there were this time last year.

“We have projected that in the next three years, we will see a 33 percent increase of kids coming into foster care on any given day, and our foster homes are only increasing at a rate of about 2.5 percent a year," Sausser said.