Beyond opioids: How a family came together to stay together

After a decade of steady decline, the number of children in foster care had risen by 10 percent between 2012 and 2016, in large part because of the opioid epidemic, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And regions with higher rates of deaths from drug overdose and drug-related hospitalizations have higher rates of placements in foster care.

“Removal of a child [from its parents], while sometimes absolutely necessary, causes trauma in that child at a very early age,” says Valerie Chandler, the former program director of the Berks Parents Services Collaborative Program, designed for mothers with addiction, at the Children’s Home of Reading.

Studies show that many kids entering the foster care system go through long periods of instability, moving from one foster home to another, and often have long-term mental health needs that go unmet.

Rhitu Chatterjee and Rebecca Davis/NPR