More Child Home Placements Caused By Meth Use: Report
Less-than-expected out-of-home placement costs was one element of a Department of Social Services annual work report to the Oneida County Board Tuesday, but drugs remain a large factor in child home placements.
Director Mary Rideout said they initially thought the deficit would be in the $200,000 dollar range, but were able to cut the deficit to $50,000.
Adult protective service referrals were up 22 percent, largely due to a change in state policy called Family Care. These include referrals for dementia care and other conditions.
Rideout says the number of referrals for children who are drug endanged also is rising...
"...56 percent of the referrals we receive for children, are related to drug-endangered children. That means there's drugs in that household or involved with that child's care so 56 percent in 2018. We're seeing that continue in the upper 50-60 percent this year as well...."
Rideout indicated methamphetamine is the main culprit for the rise, though heroin-opioid use and alcohol remain in the mix.
Rideout says they lost nearly half of their economic support staff last year. Nine people work in economic support. They determine eligibility for benefits...
"...Those folks determine eligibility for food share and Medicaid benefits. It's really a call-center function now. They're on the phone most of the time now. That's how they do their job. There's a lot to learn, it takes about two years and unfortunately seeing a lot of turnover in those jobs as well...."
The report indicated Child Protective and Child Welfare totaled 609 clients in 2018, and 101 youth justice service clients leading the way.