There will be somewhere in the grim neighborhood of about 45,000 opiod deaths this past year. One of the echoes of this explosion is the number of kids landing in the children protective services departments. Nationally the placement of foster kids is up as much as 8% in 2015. This number does not count the number of kids going to live with their grandparents, aunts and uncles.
There is not a week that goes by in my practice that we do not address a custody issue related to heroin addiction.
What this means is that an already understaffed and under-trained children services will be taking a hit and miss approach to finding the kids in trouble. They simply do not have the resources to be proactive. So its moving from one 911 call to the next. And warning: it could get worse. Because if the Republicans follow through and wipe out ObamaCare without replacing most of the popular attributes like no pre-existing conditions, on till age 26 and addiction treatment, there will be more addicts. Most of the addiction treatment has been paid for by an expansion of Medicaid. If that expansion is rolled back as part of repealing ObamaCare then there will be more addicts on the street. They need professional help to beat the addictions and often the enrollment in a program is part of the court ordered protective supervision order.
Then there is a lack of foster parents even before the addiction boom and a failure to properly vet foster parents. You need to weed out those that are only it for the money. I’ve argued that partnering with church backed organizations makes sense.
Last month I represented a grandmother who received 90 days in jail because she did not kick out her sons or their friends who at the very least were possessing and using heroin in a small apartment. There was some evidence that she took some money from the boys for “gas and food”. The toddlers overdosed with white substance on their faces. They had to be NARCANED at the ER. Her very young daughter got 30 months because she was there at the time of the emergency and then did not tell the ER staff what had happened. She actually did not know. This story made headlines because it was so unusual. Expect similar stories as the heroin explosion continues without end.