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PNS Daily Newscast - December 19, 2018 


A federal judge delays Michael Flynn’s sentencing after berating him in the courtroom. Also on Wednesday's rundown: The Trump asylum ban could go into effect at midnight; and North Carolina voters demand answers in an election-fraud case.

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Demand for Foster Care Continues to Rise

An estimated 92,000 children nationwide entered foster care in 2016 because of parental drug use, according to the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth. According to Florida Department of Children and Family, 791 children are currently available for adoption. (Pixabay)
An estimated 92,000 children nationwide entered foster care in 2016 because of parental drug use, according to the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth. According to Florida Department of Children and Family, 791 children are currently available for adoption. (Pixabay)
May 31, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the opioid crisis has grown in recent years, so has the number of children no longer able to safely live with their parents.

Children’s welfare advocates say it's important to support the foster parents and extended families increasingly being called on to care for children.

As more U.S. parents addicted to opioids face incarceration, rehab or overdose, more children are in need of safe homes, creating more demand for foster care, according to the children and families advocacy group Generations United.

In Florida, there are more than 24,000 children in both kinship and general foster care.

Shannon Colavecchio, who lives in Tallahassee, has cared for two children since becoming a foster parent in September.

"Every child that comes into the system, you know they didn't do anything to get there, and so they just need someone to love them while they are waiting for their parents to get better," she says.

In response to the growing need for foster caregivers, Congress in February passed the Family First Prevention Services Act. The law provides more funding for programs such as parenting classes, substance abuse treatment and mental health services – all designed to prevent children from being placed in foster care.

The U.S. Senate this year also is recognizing Thursday as National Foster Parent Appreciation Day.

Jaia Lent, deputy executive director of Generations United, says that as of 2016, 400,000 children are in foster care nationwide. She hopes that as policymakers increase support for foster families, they also will continue to support relatives caring for children outside the system.

As demand for caregivers rises, Lent says grandparents and other relatives are increasingly the ones stepping in to care for children.

“The positive news about relying on relatives is that we know that children actually do better when they are placed with supported relatives versus non-relatives," she states.

Lent says children who can't remain under their parents' care for whatever reason often experience serious trauma, but she says research shows children who are able to stay with other family members typically show better mental and behavioral health.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL