No one wants to stay in foster care, but certain circumstances can lead you to spend your precious childhood days away from your own home. Whether your parents passed away, they abandoned you, or can’t take care of you due to their financial problems, you may be sent to foster care to live a better life.
Many children are able to find a beloved family that treats them as their own and raises them with love and affection. But not every kid is fortunate. Some of them end up with abusive foster parents who physically and mentally abuse them, leaving scars on their body and their mind that will stay with them forever.
A major challenge the foster care system faces is alcohol and drug addiction.
Addiction is a chronic brain disease that makes it difficult for a person to stop alcohol or drug consumption, despite being aware of the negative consequences. It affects their entire lifestyle and if the problem persists, they may be unable to perform routine tasks on their own. When a person can’t bring an end to substance abuse, they must seek professional assistance in order to overcome their addiction.
Drug Abuse by Youth in Foster Care
Every year, more than 250,000 children are sent to foster homes in the US alone, while 23,000 youths age out of foster care. There is only a 3% chance that kids who spent their childhood in a foster home will be able to get a college degree at some point in life, meaning they might lack structure as far as education and work ethic.
One of the major reasons that youth in foster homes suffer is alcohol and drug addiction. In fact, around 34% of youth in a foster care system in the U.S. abuses drugs or alcohol. This dependence often results in foster care replacement or relocation.
Foster youth experiences a variety of challenges that often attract them to try out drugs, such as:
The stress of moving in with a new family and suffering ill treatment at the hands of their foster parents often leave them distressed. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to escape the painful reality and find solace.
Family History of Addiction
When parents are addicted to drugs, it’s likely that children may also get into substance abuse down the road. Moreover, substance abuse by parents is the major reason why children are removed from their custody and sent to foster homes.
Foster youth are usually moved between homes and as a result, they find it difficult to adjust to the inconsistent living environment. Since they are forced to change schools, they can’t make and keep friends for long.
This ever-changing environment negatively affects their academic performance and leads to behavioral issues. It significantly increases the risk of alcohol or drug addiction.
The Stress of Leaving Foster Care
About 50% of youth leaving a foster home after turning 18 is able to secure a job, whereas 20% of them become homeless. The stress of leaving foster care and failing to get a good job leads to depression and foster youth often gets into substance abuse.
Parental Substance Abuse
Not everyone who takes prescription drugs or drinks alcohol becomes an addict. But substance abuse augments the risk of alcohol or drug addiction. If a person can’t stop consumption despite knowing its negative impacts on their health, it may indicate that they are addicted.
The leading reason as to why children are removed from their own homes and sent to foster homes is substance abuse by parents. When the government thinks that parents can’t take good care of their kids due to addiction, they send them to foster homes.
Children that grow up with a parent who is addicted to alcohol or drugs tend to develop behavioral problems. They often lack respect for elders and are more angry and resentful. Since children learn from their parents, they may even try out drugs and alcohol.
While many drug or alcohol addicted parents try to raise their children on their own, they can’t fulfill their responsibilities as efficiently as sober parents can. Other drug addicts abandon their children and turn a blind eye to their responsibilities as a parent.
The government takes custody of these children in an attempt to protect them from child abuse and ensure that they aren’t neglected. They are sent to foster homes where they can learn good habits under the guidance of elders and control their anger and impulsiveness.
However, the government often fails to take actions against drug or alcohol addicted foster parents. If foster parents are unable to meet the state requirement of foster care, they are less likely to bring a positive change in the lives of children.
Children growing up in foster homes where alcohol and drug abuse is common experience several problems. It may affect the child’s development in the following ways:
- Poor cognitive development
- Childhood trauma
- Lack of social etiquettes
With the increasing rate of substance abuse in the US, particularly due to inflation, the foster care system is growing. The number of children sent to foster homes increases every year, which isn’t a good sign for society.
It’s crucial to spread awareness about the risks of drug and alcohol addiction. Moreover, the government should reform the foster care system to improve the living conditions for children and protect them from factors that may endanger their welfare.
Whether you’re addicted to drugs and want to take the custody of your kids or you notice foster children addicted to drugs around you, get in touch with a rehab facility. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center can help drug or alcohol addicts to effectively get rid of addiction and adopt a sober lifestyle.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.