Opiate crisis sending more children into foster care - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Opiate crisis sending more children into foster care

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NEWARK, OH (WCMH) — Licking County Job and Family Services is seeing more children enter into its foster care system because of the opiate crisis.

Christina Riffle has fostered eight children over the last four years. Six out of those eight children were born with drugs in their system.

“I see what these little kids go through every day with sexual abuse, drug addiction. Whatever it is they need that loving parent,” said Riffle.

Riffle and her husband adopted two of those children. Her oldest, now four-years-old, struggles with behavior issues because of the drug exposure.

“We struggle right now with her behavior. We take it one day at a time,” said Riffle.

“In 2016 there were 25 newborns entered our care because they were born addicted,” said John Fisher, Director of the Licking County Family and Job Services.

Tuesday, the agency is asking voters to approve $3.9 million in additional funding to help the needs of children that are abused and neglected.

“This levy is 100% dedicated to the child, not to the parent,” said Fisher.

As of September the agency has 472 children in care, the largest the county has ever had.

“Seventy-five percent plus of those children are entering our care because of parental drug abuse and mental health issues,” Fisher says.

Fisher says the funds will go towards foster care and treatment for children living with trauma because of the abuse and towards adoption services .

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