Swamped by Opioid Crisis, Foster Network Seeks Input to Support Caregivers
Friday, October 25, 2019
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With the opioid crisis pushing more children into foster care in West Virginia, supporting foster parents is more crucial than ever.
Julia Hamilton is a foster parent of two in Morgantown. She says she wishes case workers were able to touch base more often with her, especially to help her two-year-old son, who was born addicted to drugs and has special needs.
A new survey being sponsored by the West Virginia Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Parents Network is looking for input from foster parents such as Hamilton to get lawmakers to give them more support.
"To just give us a voice at the table would be life changing because right now it truly feels most days like it doesn't matter what we have to say,” says Hamilton. “It's not taken into consideration when making decisions for that child."
The Parents Network is partnering with Marshall University and the state's Department of Health and Human Resources to develop the survey. Foster parents can participate at wvfosterparents.org.
Hamilton and her partner, Zack Cruze, are sharing foster parenting for a 17-year-old girl and the toddler. Hamilton says taking care of the toddler requires more resources.
The boy was born premature and had to be weaned off of morphine. She says he has a lot of developmental delays as a result, including poor vision, which happens often with opioid babies.
He has improved in the past six months thanks to a team of therapists, which she's thankful for, but she says more needs to be done.
"I think that in general, there needs to be better support,” says Hamilton. “You know it depends, of course, on the foster agency you're with – whether or not you're going strictly through DHHR. But the kind of training you receive as a foster parent can sometimes be a little limited for the behaviors that you're running into."
According to state statistics, almost seven thousand children are in foster care in the state, and only four thousand foster and kinship homes. The survey will give lawmakers a better understanding of how to help these important caregivers and change child welfare policy to make the system better.
get more stories like this via email
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …
Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…
Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …
A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …
Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…
A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …
Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …
By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…