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Opioid epidemic leads to increased need for foster parents

If you're looking to adopt, now may be a good time to consider your options. The opioid epidemic has placed many people into hospitals and resulted in many overdoses. As a result, children are entering foster care at high rates. Particularly in places such as the Ohio Valley and West Virginia, children are going into foster care at unexpected levels. For instance, in West Virginia, 1,000 more children entered foster care than expected.

The opioid epidemic was primarily a concern initially due to addiction and the risks that were posed to individuals. Today, the damage caused by the epidemic is of a much wider range than initially expected. Children losing their parents are left in the foster care system. Some are taken away, leaving dangerous or abusive situations behind. Some babies are born addicted to drugs, so they have to stay in the hospital for weeks while they go through detoxification and withdrawal. Some children in foster care end up with fetal alcohol syndrome, while others suffer from delays or other medical needs.

For foster children, the most important thing is being in a safe environment. Many of the children who start out from a difficult situation thrive once they're given time to heal with a permanent home. Foster care is just the start; many of these children go on to be adopted by loving families. Children in situations caused by the opioid epidemic don't always need to be adopted, but fostering them still gives them hope when they're otherwise facing a troubling situation. The need for foster care continues to grow across the country.

Children are in need of homes across the country, including in Virginia. If you're considering adoption, this could be an opportunity for your family to grow.

Source: Public Broadcasting, "Opioid Epidemic Putting Thousands More in Foster Care," Liz McCormick, Dec. 26, 2017

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