More Innocent Children Are Now Entering Foster Care Due To Parents' Drug Use, Reveals Study

More Innocent Children Are Now Entering Foster Care Due To Parents' Drug Use, Reveals Study

The study found out that the number of children entering the foster care system in the United States because of parental drug use has risen dramatically since 2000.

If you were born in the late 90s or early 2000s, chances are your parents would be aware of the cocaine boom in America during the mid-late 1980s. However, it's not rare to find parents who raise their children whilst still going through a drug problem of sorts. 



According to a study published in the medical journal known as JAMA Pediatrics,  there was a 147% increase in children entering foster care due to their parents' continuous and harmful drug use. The study was published on Monday and looked at the number of foster care entries in the nationwide Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.

Anglero-Diaz, a Boston Children’s Hospital psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School instructor, told WBUR's Deborah Becker that she was astonished when discovering the ages at which the children were removed from their homes due to parental drug use. “We’re really looking at the youngsters who are still in the early stages of development in terms of social, emotional development [and] attachment to parental figures and caregivers," she said.



Angélica Meinhofer, lead author and instructor of health care policy and research at Weill Cornell Medical College said that "There is so little [research] about how the epidemic has spilled over and affected children. This study attempts to quantify ... increases in foster care and parental drug use.". The research analyzed the individual's demographics, geographic area, and reasons for home removal. They looked at nearly 5 million foster care entries.  

The study reported that parental drug use has accounted for more than 1 million foster care entries, making up 23% of all entries recorded in the 17-year time span. The researchers found that the percentage of home removals related to parental drug use increased "dramatically and steadily" from almost 15% of removals in 2000 to 36% in 2017. As the study analyzed the differences in kids whose parents were drug abusers and kids with other causes of home-removal, they found that those whose parents had been drug abusers were more likely to be less than 5 years old (60.2% vs. 39.7%), white (54.5% vs. 45.3%) and live in the South (44.7% vs. 30.8%).



Unfortunately, the study came with its own set of limitations. Firstly, though they could identify whether or not the child's parents had been drug abusers, they couldn't find out which drugs exactly in each case. Furthermore, they couldn't explain the causes of the growth of drug history and abuses in each case.

According to Richard Ruth, an associate professor of clinical psychology at George Washington University, the study's results are based on "what a protective services social worker writes down and enters into a system based on the data they're able to gather," which may not be accurate, thorough or well-funded. Richard Ruth was, however, not involved in this particular study. 

With regard to foster cases directly correlated to parental drug use, Ruth said, "I don't see anything stopping this very unfortunate trend ... it's been escalating. There needs to be a lot of different kinds of research, including qualitative research," Ruth said. "We need to know the parents of substance abuse in-depth -- what's their story, how did they get there, what did they try, what's worked?"



This is certainly an alarming issue for America and its citizens. This most certainly cannot go on as the family structure is bound to get destroyed at this rate. Parents must take the utmost responsibility for their children until they come of age.

In this regard, being in charge of their children's lives is to also be in control of their own. Parents who succumb to drugs not only turn their own progress into a dismal lethargy but also cripple the prospects of their young boy or girl into potential opportunities at success. 

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