Ohio Foster care system struggles to keep pace with opioid epidemic

As the opioid crisis spread across the Miami Valley, it took a tragic toll on many of the region’s youngest residents — forcing more children into foster care and exposing many to severe trauma.

County agencies have struggled to recruit and train enough foster parents, at times sending children from Montgomery County to homes as far away as Arkansas and Missouri. Taxpayer costs have risen as the children required longer stays in foster or group homes, and needed more intensive care.

The Dayton Daily News’ Path Forward project is seeking solutions to the region’s biggest challenges, including how we recover from the opioid crisis. This story digs into how children have been hurt and examines potential solutions to make sure we don’t lose a generation of kids to addiction.

Our investigation found that Montgomery, Greene, Warren and Miami counties saw the total number of kids removed from homes increase nearly 20 percent from 2013 to 2017. Removals dropped last year, just as overdose deaths peaked in 2017 and then declined in 2018.

We also found the total costs in those four counties increased by 14 percent from 2013 to 2016…

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