More Georgia children place in foster care because of heroin

Children are a growing group of victims affected by heroin across Georgia.

Children are a growing group of victims affected by heroin across Georgia. 

According to the Georgia Division of Families and Children Services, more children are being placed into foster homes because of their parents' drug use.

More than 4,500 children are in foster care because of their parents' drug use, according to the state's official count two months ago.  That equals two out of every three children in foster care that are in the system because of their parents' struggle with drugs. 

During an interview for 11Alive's digital investigation "The Triangle," DFCS Director Bobby Cagle attributed this increase, in part, to an increase in the use of heroin.

“Heroin is driving the increase in the number of children that are coming into our custody. Over the last two years we've had 37 percent of the cases where we had to take custody of a child that had drugs involved there's no way that you can arrest or incarcerate your way out of this....the children are going to be an unfortunate victim of this really difficult problem," Cagle said.

According to DFCS children removed from their homes due to substance abuse are less likely to return to parental custody than in cases that don't involve drugs. 

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Over the past 18 months,Georgia’s medical examiners started working together to streamline reporting of heroin-related deaths. This change is helping our investigators more accurately track the number of deaths linked to heroin from 2015 to present day.

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