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Factors Increasing Foster Care Placements

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Having children and raising a family is a lot more difficult today than a generation ago. Society has come a long way since infant mortality was the norm and good schools were only for the rich, but changing cultures and trends have made maintaining the family unit an impossible task for a lot of people. As a result, the number of children being placed into foster homes and facilities have increased. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that are increasing foster care placements.

Substance Abuse

In early 2013, human services in the state of Maine asked their government’s Legislature for an extra $4.2 million in funding, because the number of children being put into foster homes was 35% over expectations. The reason for the rise was attributed to substance abuse problems among young patients. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child and Family Services pointed at economic hardships being the biggest driver of drug abuse, naming prescription drugs and the notorious ‘bath drugs’ as the parents’ homes and presence was no longer considered safe for their children.

Young Parents

Add to the equation that many of these parents are teenagers, who turn to drugs to escape from the struggle of raising children at that early an age, and caseworkers report that more children have to be moved to safety than in the recent past. A foster parent of 29 years, and with eight children she adopted as adults, said that “99% of all [foster] cases” stemmed from the danger of parents who had drug and alcohol addictions.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is another factor that has led to an increase in placement rates. Connected to tough economic conditions, parents too young to be responsible stewards and turning to drug and alcohol, children who have seen, or otherwise been exposed, to domestic violence also require greater amounts of therapy and counseling at foster care facilities.

Budget Cuts in Social Services

Budget cuts across social services, like family counseling, have also led to a rise in foster care placements. With less social workers being paid to provide resources and help to struggling families, parents may not receive the necessary treatment to overcome their problems, thus placing continued endangerment on the child. Instead of parents having someone with whom they can work through their problems, their children are simply taken from them because they (the parents) are deemed to be a risk to the growth of their child.

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