May is widely recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, with many individual days given their own observances to address a variety of subjects. In addition, 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. It is important to understand the link between substance abuse and foster care, and how it affects children’s well-being.
Foster Care and its Link to Substance Abuse
The relationship between substance abuse and foster care is a deeply related one. Recent studies have shown that the current opioid epidemic has strained the U.S. foster care system. Many children who have found themselves in the foster care system, and not in the care of their parents or family, are there due to substance abuse. The strain on the system due to substance abuse has caused many children to lose their parents from substance abuse, imprisonment resulting from drugs, or accidental death from substance use.
Compiling data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, JAMA concluded about 5 million entered the foster care system between 2000 and 2017. Shockingly, 1,162,668 of 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. The statistics clearly show that substance abuse is a major factor in children entering the foster care system.
Underlying Factors: Substance Abuse and Neglect
Neglect is a significant factor in children entering the foster care system, and it often stems from substance abuse. In fact, 62% of children enter the system due to neglect. This underlying factor highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between substance misuse and foster care, and it affects children’s well-being. By identifying the underlying factors that contribute to children entering foster care, healthcare professionals can work towards better solutions for foster care and adoption youth struggling with substance abuse.
Substance Abuse and Trauma in Foster Care/Adoption Youth
Children who were in foster care or were adopted may 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. In fact, they may be more likely to cope in this way, as they may have seen it exercised. Foster care and adoption youth have their own unique concerns and experiences, and it is essential to consider these when providing treatment.
Providing Treatment to Foster Care/Adoption Youth
Providing treatment to foster care and adoption youth struggling with substance misuse requires special considerations. It’s essential to understand the unique experiences and concerns that these youth may have. Particularly when it comes to trauma and neglect. By providing appropriate treatment, healthcare professionals can help these youth overcome their substance abuse struggles and improve their well-being
In conclusion, as healthcare professionals, it’s crucial to understand the link between substance abuse and foster care, particularly in the context of National Foster Care Month. By bringing more attention to these links and understanding the underlying factors, we can work towards better solutions for individuals struggling with substance abuse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please reach out to us.