A research letter analyzed federally mandated data on children in foster care in the United States to examine how many children entered foster care because of parental drug use during the 2000 to 2017 fiscal years. There were nearly 5 million foster care entries during this period, of which nearly 1.2 million (about 23%) were home removals because of parental drug use.
The number of foster care entries because of parental drug use rose from 39,130 of 269,382 removals (14.5%) in 2000 to 96,672 of 266,583 removals (36.3%) in 2017. These findings coincide with increasing trends in opioid use and overdose deaths nationwide during this period. However, the authors acknowledge factors other than drug use may have influenced foster care entries for parental drug use.