There are some really bad parents in our community, but what I have found is that there are a lot more hurting parents in our community. The vast majority of kids who are coming into foster care in Arizona are coming in because of neglect. Much of that neglect is due to drug use, as well as mental health issues that affects a parent’s ability to adequately care for their child. As odd as it sounds, we need to stop connecting love with a parent’s ability to meet a child’s needs. I tell my adopted kids often that their birth parents loved them but they could not meet their needs and keep them safe because that is the truth. It is always easier to express love in a healthy way when you yourself are healthy – many of these parents are not.
The more time I spend inside the world of foster care, the stronger my feelings become that the social issues we face are less black and white, but instead, are many shades of grey. There is a huge need for more prevention resources to assist those battling addiction. Even once kids are brought into foster care, it can be challenging for their families to receive the help they need to overcome the obstacles that brought their children into care.
Although opioid use is not the only drug use leading to kids coming into care, it has been declared a public health emergency. You can read more about the Opioid Crisis Arizona is facing here.
Thank you for your great question! If you have questions, send them to #youaskedfa or Kim@fosteraz.com