OPIOID ABUSE IS SENDING CHILDREN INTO FOSTER CARE

Congress Listened to Calls for Preventative Care!

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act — a comprehensive opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery bill with bi-partisan support — was signed into federal law in October. The bill includes the Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act with several prevention and treatment provisions that support improvements in health, education, child welfare, law enforcement, housing, labor and public health systems to address the opioid crisis. Supporters believe the provisions will help reduce and prevent future substance misuse and child maltreatment, which will lead to better health and educational outcomes, reducing future substance abuse and lowering overall costs to government.

Growing consensus is that childhood trauma is both the cause and the consequence of the current opioid crisis. Child and family welfare service providers have long advocated a trauma-informed approach in addressing the epidemic. In addition to providing for trauma-informed training, Centers for Disease Control surveillance and data collection on trauma, and the identification and advancement of best practices, this bill provides technical assistance and some funding for trauma support services and care.

Thank you for making your voice heard!

Opioid abuse in the United States is a hot topic at the moment, and for good reason.

Foster care caseloads increased nationally from 630,000 in 2012 to 683,000 in 2016. This correlates with the percentage of children removed from their homes due to parental abuse of drugs, from 10% in 2000 to 31.3% in 2016.

Missouri’s experience is consistent with the national trend, and it is a crisis. Information from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and Children's Bureau shows that the number of children entering foster care increased by 30% or more in 52 Missouri counties between 2012 and 2016. Drug mortality and foster care entry rates in 2016 is particularly alarming, with Missouri exceeding national medians in more than half of the counties in the state. Children are not only at a higher risk to be removed from their homes for their own safety because of parental addiction, they are also in jeopardy of their parents dying, which amplifies the trauma in their young lives. 

As part of the recent bipartisan budget deal that was passed, Congress included an additional $6 billion in federal resources to fight the opioid crisis over the next two years. However, it remains unclear how those resources will be used. The White House also released its Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse which is designed to:

  • reduce demand and over prescription;
  • cut off the flow of illicit drugs across our borders and within communities; and,
  • save lives through evidence-based treatment and recovery support services.

Cornerstones of Care and like-minded organizations are calling on the White House, Congress and individual states to include prevention as part of the response. We want to ensure that families are fortified holistically and that space for innovation is included in any legislation that gets passed.

What You Can Do to Help

We will be calling on you to communicate with our elected officials with specific actions to affect the most positive outcomes in addressing this crisis. The safety of children and health of families count on it.

  • Call or email your legislators! Look up your senators and your representatives and let them know you want prevention programs to be included in the national response to the opioid epidemic.
  • If you live in Missouri, tell your Senators you want to see HB 2280 passed to increase Medicaid health insurance coverage for women who give birth while undergoing substance abuse treatment from 60 days to up to 12 months
  • Tweet and post Facebook messages to your legislators as well. 
    • To tweet directly to your lawmaker, insert his/her handle before the tweet content. You can find legislators' Twitter handles here
    • To find lawmakers on Facebook, simply search for their names and "Like" their page. 
  • Listen to our podcast featuring Carla Lee, patient community education specialist with Swope Health Services in Kansas City, to understand the issue.
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