Unfortunately, it is a common and daily news topic in today’s society: the serious and continually growing opioid addiction problem. It is not only hurting the many people who are using and abusing the drug, it is tearing apart families, leading to a large increase in children living in foster care, outside of permanent homes. 

It is happening all over the United States: babies requiring extended stays in the NICU to wean off of drugs their mothers used while pregnant, family judges being swarmed with cases, and foster care agencies in dire need of families to provide homes for the large increase of children in care.

According to Johnson City Press, there is a another concern for these children in care that needs to be addressed. Because of the instability of their childhood, many are failing to receive an adequate education and are having a hard time preparing for adulthood. Unfortunately, many children bounce in and out of foster care for much of their childhoods, with limited support and a limited social system of people around them.

“It seems like there’s a whole generation of people disappearing,” Family Judge Marilyn Moores told NBC news. There are countless stories of children found alone with unresponsive adults, babies born addicted and taking months of weaning to get the drug out of their system, and children even dying because of the lack of care.

It is an epidemic that needs to be stopped, but there is no end in sight. Foster care, which once was showing a decrease in the number of children in care, is now growing exponentially. Social workers need to be trained, to become more vigilant in identifying the signs of drug use in parents and families.

Foster care agencies are getting more children than they have families. Caseloads for their workers are becoming large and almost unmanageable. And unfortunately, there is no end in sight to this opioid pandemic.