Children should always come first for care in any society. The concept of family testifies to that fact. But when mothers and fathers fall victim to dangerous lifestyles and lose control of their ability to function as a parent, the children suffer.
Unfortunately, domestic violence, alcohol and drugs play a huge role in breaking families up and sending children into temporary foster homes and sometime permanent ones if the parent never recovers, or if they die. Societies such as America’s offer many temptations to average people who lose control and those temptations have expanded rapidly over the past 50 years.
The opioid crises has exploded and “the number of kids placed in foster care in the United States due to parental drug use has more than doubled over the past two decades, rising to nearly 96,700 in 2017 from about 39,100 in 2000.”
During the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and early 90s, Black families were broken by drug use, imprisonment, and gang violence which resulted in many children being left with family members and others going straight into foster care.
Many Black families stepped up and took in crack babies, nieces, nephews and grandchildren whose parents had fallen to the grip of crack cocaine. The foster care roles went from nearly 26,000 – 32,000 within a span of ten years.
Now that the opioid crises have taken hold of more families today, the children are not Black, but from white families; both suburban and rural communities are feeling the sting of addiction. “Children entering foster care due to parental drug use were more likely to be 5 years old or younger, white, and from the Southern region of the United States, researchers found.”
Of course the response to the opioid crises is very different than the response to the crack epidemic. Opioid addicts are getting more treatment and rehab instead of prison time. Nevertheless, the children still suffer. Yet the difference here is that not as many white people are taking in stray children as did Blacks.
“There's also been an increase in drug-related removals in areas outside of cities, with the proportion rising from 18 percent in 2000-2005 to 25% in 2012-2017.” Since the crises has moved from the cities outward, rural and suburban areas were not prepared for the increase thus foster care options were not well known.
Regardless of the situation, children still need the help. Parents can be neglectful and careless especially when they become addicted to a dangerous drug. But people need to open their hearts and their homes for the sake of the children, and not turn their heads because of the reasons, or who the victims are.