Parents' Opiate Abuse Drives Increase In Adoptions Of Kids In State Custody

Dec 15, 2016

The lack of permanence in the foster care system is a well-understood problem, and sometimes the path to adoption is long and difficult. That's why it's notable that the number of total adoptions in Vermont in 2016 is higher than it's been in years.

By the end of 2016, a total of 264 kids will have been adopted in Vermont, up from 179 last year, as the Burlington Free Press reported earlier this week.

Wanda Audette is the director of adoption at Lund, a private non-profit that partners with the state to facilitate adoptions of kids in state custody.

Audette told Vermont Edition that during the period of Sept. 1 to Dec. 23, Lund will have worked on 115 adoptions, with 105 of those being kids in the custody of Vermont's Department for Children and Families. She adds that the opiate crisis has been a notable reason for kids being placed in state custody.

"Unfortunately the children that are coming into state's custody, they're coming in because of abuse or neglect, and so there's some trauma that they carry," Audette says.

"And so we want to make sure that if they cannot go back home in a timely manner, that then they can be adopted and that we can get the adoptions done for those children as soon as possible so that they can really start the healing process."

Audette also spoke about the difference between the private adoption process and those involving the state, the caseload currently being handled by Lund and DCF, and what the next steps would be for people considering adoption or becoming a foster parent.

Listen to the full interview above.