Background: In light of the opioid crisis, increasing numbers of grandparents and other relatives are raising children because their parents have died, are incarcerated, are using drugs or are otherwise unable to take care of their children. Nationally, more than 2.6 million children are raised in “grandfamilies,” by grandparents, other extended family members or close family friends without their parents in the home. In Nevada, approximately 33,000 children live in these families.
The opioid crisis is causing a national increase in the number of children going into foster care, and relatives are raising more of these children than ever.
Nationally, relatives now care for 32% of all children in foster care (40% of all children in foster care in Nevada), and for every one child in foster care with a relative, there are 19 outside of foster care with a relative.
Grandfamilies are our first line of defense for our nation’s children who are impacted by their parent’s opioid use, yet they often have little to no access to supports and services to help them. When children are raised in grandfamilies who receive the support they need, they thrive. Compared to children in foster care with non-relatives, children raised by relatives have more stable and safe childhoods, better behavioral and mental health outcomes, are more likely to keep connections to brothers and sisters, and are more likely to report they “always feel loved.” Grandparents and other relatives save taxpayers more than $4 billion each year by stepping up to keep children out of foster care and safely with family.
Below are several of the resources mentioned during the 10/29/19 training "Helping Children of the Opioid Crisis". We encourage you to get involved if you would like to continue the conversation! Join the Foster Kinship Kinship Advocacy Network (KAN Meetings) by calling 702-546-9988 and requesting more information.