Tuesday, June 5th
Sheila Vargas, Public Relations Director
CHILDREN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE ARE LIVING WITH THEIR PARENTS’ ADDICTION
CONCORD, N.H. – Today, New Futures, a statewide health policy and advocacy organization, and the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire released a Carsey School research brief presenting new data on the children and caregivers impacted by the ongoing addiction epidemic.
According to the report, commissioned by New Futures and researched and developed by the Carsey School, the number of children removed from their parent’s care increased over 50 percent, from 358 to 547 from 2012 to 2016. In the same timeline, the number of those cases with a substance-related allegation doubled, from 30 percent to 60 percent. Many of these children are now living with their grandparents or other close relatives.
“Creating stable connections with adults, whether that be with a grandparent, parent, or child care provider, particularly while these children struggle with their parent’s addiction, is paramount to ensuring that our kids are developing on track,” said Rebecca Woitkowski, Early Childhood Policy Coordinator at New Futures. “Policymakers should consider the entire family when attempting to combat addiction and support treatment and preventive services which will help families combat issues in-home before they spiral into full-blown problems.”
“The opioid epidemic in New Hampshire has strained not only the families coping with addiction but also the service providers who work with children and families,” said Kristin Smith, family demographer at the Carsey School and research associate professor of sociology. “Founded and unfounded cases of child abuse and neglect increasingly involve substance-use-related allegations. Encouraging parents to seek treatment, as well as providing services to families where there is reasonable concern for potential child abuse or neglect can help families access the services they need.”
“The Carsey Report is an all-hands-on-deck call for the State of New Hampshire. No matter how you crunch the numbers, they add up to a grim picture for children and the state’s future,” said Moira O’Neill, Director of the Office of the Child Advocate. “We need all hands to reverse the tragic trends.”
While the report lays out staggering data, it also offers insights into changes New Hampshire can make to help our youngest citizens thrive. Policies outlined which would support children and families include the reinstatement of funding for voluntary services, a paid family and medical leave program, increasing access to the child care scholarship program, and ensuring access to services for grand families.
ABOUT NEW FUTURES
New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to improve the health and wellness of all New Hampshire residents through policy change.