Hard Drugs May Be a Factor in Foster Care Increase

The number of children in the Kansas foster care program has hit an all-time high and hard drugs may be part of the problem.
In July, 6,522 children and young people were reported in the program.
A leader of a local volunteer group that tries to help those children says the resurgence of some hard drugs may be part of the problem.
“Particularly heroin and methamphetamine. We’re seeing a number of children brought into custody because of substance abuse on the part of the parents,” said Lois Rice of the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program of Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
CASA volunteers are not state social workers. They meet and check in on foster children on a regular basis and then report back to the juvenile judge that has the child’s case.
Some area police have reported the use of heroin may be on the rise in the metro because it’s so cheap.
Rice her groups sees problems of neglect are common with parents who may be strung out from drugs.
Rice says the problem is not a new one for the metropolitan area.
She says the foster care enrollments in Johnson and Wyandotte counties have jumped 28%, from 1,403 in 2001 to 1,807 in 2015.
The Kansas Foster care program is under fire.
It was the headlines earlier this year because of the deaths of some children in the custody of their foster parents.
Members of the Kansas Legislature have a one-day hearing set for November 17 to look into the state of the foster care program.

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