Opioid epidemic increasing foster family demand in Vermont
The Vermont Department for Children and Families reported 1,392 children in its custody in 2016, marking a significant increase from the 1,075 children reported in 2014, according to a WCAX report.
The rise in children under DCF custody includes a spike in children under the age of 5. In 2014, there were 284 such children under DCF custody. This number nearly doubled to 539 by 2015, according to the report. The surge in younger children coming under state custody has challenged Vermont's foster care system, increasing the demand for foster families capable of caring for younger kids.
"We need people who are comfortable with young kids, who know how to create structure and routine for young kids, who are available during the day to take care of a newborn," said Karen Shea, DCF's Deputy Commissioner, according to the report.
"I think that in our state, which is similar to many other states, they've experienced a significant increase of children coming into custody because of parental substance abuse," added Ms. Shea. "And in our state, opiates seem to be the most common factor driving that increase."
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