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December Wisconsin Counties Magazine Highlights Impact of Opiates on Child Welfare System
- Posted on December 6, 2016
Counties in every corner of the state are feeling the impact of increased opiate, heroin and meth use, with the child welfare system taking one of the biggest hits. To address this crisis, the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) today announced the release of the December issue of Wisconsin Counties magazine, which takes an in-depth look at this topic.
“Sadly, the increased incidences of heroin and meth use across the state is having negative consequences on the state’s most vulnerable citizens – young children,” said WCA Executive Director Mark D. O’Connell. “County human services departments across the state are seeing increased out-of-home placement costs as parents struggling with addiction are unable to safely care for their children.”
Statistics from across the state are alarming:
• A 30% increase in child welfare referrals from 2007 to 2015 – from 55,895 cases in 2007 to 72,698 in 2015.
• A 9% increase in screened- in child protective services (CPS) reports (excluding Milwaukee County) from 2011 – 2015.
• An 8% increase in the number of children entering out-of-home care (excluding Milwaukee County) from 2011 – 2015. Prior to 2011, the number of children in out-of-home placements was decreasing.
• An increasing number of Children in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) petitions filed statewide – from 4,392 in 2012 to 4,942 in 2015. A number of counties, by July 2016, had already exceeded their total number of 2015 CHIPS petitions.
“This crisis is taking its toll on child welfare workers across the state. Increasing caseloads, coupled with the increased complexity and service needs associated with parental substance abuse cases, are causing many child welfare workers to leave the profession,” said President of the Wisconsin County Human Service Association Chuck Price.
He continued, “Skilled caseworkers, who work every day to ensure the safety of Wisconsin’s children, are burning out and in need of immediate help. We know that successful outcomes drop from 74% to 17% with just one change in case manager. So, recruiting, hiring, and retaining a confident and competent workforce is critically important.”
Over 40 counties covering all corners of the state have already adopted resolutions asking the governor and state legislature for assistance in the next state budget by increasing the children and family aids allocation by 10% annually, equivalent to $6.8 million each year in the 2017-19 state biennial budget.
The December Wisconsin Counties articles can be accessed here.