Caregivers have expressed some of the hardest times come when the realities of child welfare rules clash against the necessities of daily life. (Breslauer, 2017) The low monthly stipend the Department of Children & Families provides to caregivers that take in these children doesn’t go far. The everyday costs of raising a young child, from diapers to daycare, can overwhelm any parent. (Breslauer, 2017) But raising a child left behind by opioid addiction can also mean thousands of dollars spent on adoption and legal fees. Children exposed to the trauma of parental substance abuse, or to opioids before birth, need therapy and extra care to thrive. Grandparents, many of whom are on limited incomes, quickly find themselves overwhelmed. (Breslauer, 2017) For the caregivers who do step into support these children, finding help to support them can be an ongoing battle. Resources that may be available to caregivers raising these children varies from state to state. Eligibility for financial assistance, therapy, or programming can depend on a variation of factors, such as the caregiver’s income level, or whether a caregiver becomes a licensed foster parent.
Children living with caregivers such as their grandparents without a parent present is referred to as kinship care. While separation from their parent(s) can be traumatic, them living with a caring relative as opposed to a complete stranger is ultimately the next best thing. Living with relative can aid in minimizing the trauma that children have been exposed to sue to their parent(s) drug addiction. This supports in providing the children with a sense of family support.
Caregivers also need an added support. Child welfare agencies are primarily responsible for the well-being of all children. This includes ensuring that needed services and supports are delivered to families as a whole. These supports could include food, financial supports, medical insurance, and/or connecting families to agencies that would give them a greater access to services. As policymakers continue to develop strategies to meet the needs of the kinship population, they must be mindful to consider when child welfare agencies should be involved and to what extent, and determine when and how kin can be serves effectively by other public agencies. (Green, 2002)