May is widely recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, with many individual days being given their own observances and addressing a variety of subjects. In addition to being Mental Health Awareness Month, May is also recognized as National Foster Care Month, an initiative launched by the Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The relationship between substance abuse and foster care is a deeply related one. As recent as 2019, research has shown that the current opioid epidemic has strained the U.S. foster care system. Over the years, many children who have found themselves in the foster care system, and not in the care of their parents or family, in part due to substances. Whether due to accidental death from substance use, families losing children resulting from substance abuse, or imprisonment resulting from drugs.

Compiling data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, JAMA concluded about 5 million children entered the foster care system between 2000 and 2017, and 1,162,668 those children entered due to their parents’ relation to drugs.

Another research study suggested that in 2017, one in three children entered the system because of parental drug abuse. 62% of children entered the system due to neglect, which has underlying factors, often stemming from substance abuse.

The other side of addiction and foster care, or adoption, is that those who were in foster care, or may have been adopted, have possibly experienced trauma that can follow and remain with them. As we have covered time and time again, some people may cope with trauma and stressors in negative ways, including turning to substances. Those who entered the system due to substances are no exception to this role; in fact, they may be more likely to cope in this way, because it is a practice they have seen exercised.

Adoptees and foster care youth are a particular subset within substance abuse, and have their own unique concerns and experiences that lend to their current circumstances. When providing therapy or treatment to this population, it is essential to take this into consideration. There are clear links between substance abuse and foster care/adoption, and drawing more attention to these links over time can help to alleviate the strain on the foster care system, and to help those affected by it.

Tishanna Dillard, Marketing Operations Specialist

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, give us a call at the Top of the World Ranch in Milan, Illinois. Come join us at our beautiful ranch. Give us a call at (844) 814-8885 or email help@topoftheworldranch.com.

References

https://www.addictioncenter.com/community/addiction-children-foster-care/

https://www.childtrends.org/one-in-three-children-entered-foster-care-in-fy-2017-because-of-parental-drug-abuse

https://www.addictioncampuses.com/blog/addiction-and-adoption/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2786185/

https://www.thefix.com/substance-abuse-and-foster-youth

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