Drugs could be to blame for rise in foster care cases, officials - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Drugs could be to blame for rise in foster care cases, officials say

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - As the number of kids in foster care in the United States goes up, Indiana is among the states seeing the largest increase in new cases. 

A federal report just released by the Administration for Children and Families shows the number of kids in foster care nationwide was 428,000 in fiscal year 2015. 

Ashley Roberts, who lives in Scott County, Ind., currently has five kids at home. As a foster parent, she's taken care of many more. 

"I can't even count how many kids we've been able to help in our home and been able to love," Roberts told WDRB News. 

According to the new data, Indiana is among five states with the largest increase in new foster care cases between 2014 and 2015. Nationwide, the number of children in the system is up for the third year in a row.  

The trend is in line with what's employees at the Home of the Innocents in Louisville are seeing. Kelly Pullen is the director of the Therapeutic Loving Foster Care department. 

"We hit an all-time high in May in the state of Kentucky," Pullen said. "We have over 8,000 kids in out-of-home care." 

As for why the numbers are going up, federal officials say the data points to more foster care cases involving a parent using drugs. 

"We definitely have seen an increase in kids coming into care that have parents who are abusing substances or have an addiction that need treatment themselves," Pullen said. 

The rising numbers highlight a need for more foster parents. 

"We do not have enough homes to take these kids, so that is a huge need of ours, to recruit parents," Pullen said. 

Roberts is an example of how the system can work for both the adults and the kids. 

"Now four years later and numerous children later, we're still doing it and it's what we love to do," Roberts said. "It's a life changer. It's changed our lives for sure." 

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