New report shows foster care numbers increasing in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WEISH) – A new report says the number of children in foster care keeps growing. The numbers are from the Department of Health and Human Services. This is the third straight year for an increase.

Nearly three quarters of the states reporting to the Department of Health and Human Services said the number of foster children went up since last year. Indiana is one of the top five states with the highest jumps. The study is suggesting the increase over the last three years could be due to parental substance abuse.

Substance use is a common factor for a child’s removal from a home and may have contributed to the growth in the child welfare population. Neglect is also a common factor when removing a child from the home. Instances of neglect increased to 60 percent of cases in 2015.

Welfare workers responding to the study said opioid and methamphetamine are the most common illegal substances. Some state officials said the problem of substance abuse is straining their child welfare agencies.

Experts suggest the only way to fix the problem is for Community service providers and outreach programs to work together, but there might be some help on the way.

President Obama’s 2017 budget request includes an increase of regional partnership grants. The money proposed is going from $20 million to $60 million annually. It’s supposed to be used to improve the well-being of children and families directly affected by substance abuse.

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