The number of children removed from their homes jumped 61 percent from 2012 to 2016, according to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
An increase each year since 2012 follows a 7 percent decrease from 2011 to 2012.
James B. Wide of the Department of Child Services links the large increase to the opioid and drug epidemic.
“Some places heroin, some places meth, some places cocaine, some places prescription pills. So it really just depends where you are in the state, but you could definitely direct it to increased drugs for sure,” Wide says.
Wide credits Gov. Mike Pence’s drug task force with tackling drug abuse effectively, but he also names increased collaboration with other agencies as a way to combat not only the out of home placement increase, but the drug problem at a macro level.
“If we never communicate or talk about it then how will we know?” Wide says. “Then we can get our heads together and we can probably try to prevent some of these things before they come to a boil.”
Until then, the number of children removed by Indiana DCS is likely to continue rising.
“When you have parents that are addicted to these potent drugs they essentially choose the drugs over their family and over their children,” Wide says.