Number of kids in state custody, up for adoption increasing in midst of opioid crisis

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - There are few things left untouched by the opiate crisis gripping Ohio and the rest of the nation.

The fallout from the heroin epidemic has been hurting more and more children every year since 2013. Foster care systems across the state are overwhelmed and in Cincinnati, the numbers keep climbing.

Cincinnati Police Detective David Gregory sees the underbelly of an already dark beast first hand.

"We do all types of investigations and babies dying from fentanyl, I just -- can't take it," he said.

He and his wife Traci Gregory decided to do something about it by adopting a baby boy whose mother was addicted to opiates. She was pregnant with Logan while behind bars in Kenton County.

"He did 10 days in the NICU. He had a rough start -- he had a rough start," said Traci Gregory.

Logan is now 20 months old and is quite impressive. While FOX19 was there he showed us his Lego collection and blew dozens of bubbles into the air.

"This just kind of fell into our laps. Everything just kind of happened and it just felt right," said David Gregory.

According to Hamilton County Job and Family Services, the epidemic is impacting all age groups from infants to teenagers. Essentially, there simply are not enough people adopting children and they're ending up stuck in the system.

Children who were in custody at any time within each year, according to the county:

  • 2013: 2,222
  • 2014: 2,147
  • 2015: 2,515
  • 2016: 2,918
  • 2017: 3,556

"It makes me nervous, but I think it's reflective of what's happening in our community," said Moira Weir, Hamilton County Job and Family Services Director.

While the stakes are high, the cost of opiates are cheap. Weir believes the easy access to the high is what's causing numbers to rise.

Weir says the county is proactive in combatting the issue, but it's a county and community-wide problem that needs all of our attention.

The county says they are always looking for foster and adoptive parents.

According to the county, 595 children were eligible for adoption in 2017 compared to 414 in 2016 and 360 in 2015.

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