Children Taken from Parents in Heroin Cases In Rising Numbers in Cincinnati


Warren County, Oh., a primarily white, upscale area near Cincinnati, has seen a surge of heroin cases in which children are being taken away from arrested parents, says the Cincinnati Enquirer in a series on the heroin problem. “We are just inundated with these children. It's horrific,” said Patti Jacobs of the county children’s services agency. Only 6 percent of the cases in 2008 referred for ongoing services were related to heroin abuse. In 2011, that figure jumped to 73 percent–106 cases involving 170 children. Other counties in Greater Cincinnati are experiencing the same increase in their child protection systems. Jim Grace of the Kentucky Division of Protection and Permanency, said substance abuse accounts for half of all child protection investigations in the state. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University says children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs are four times more likely to be neglected and three times likelier to be sexually or physically assaulted. Local child welfare officials say a majority of cases involve removal at birth, because the mother has been using heroin during pregnancy. They expect an even greater increase when hospitals in the region begin drug testing mothers, with their consent, who arrive to give birth.

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