Heroin use soars in Ohio child custody cases - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Heroin use soars in Ohio child custody cases

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Heroin use by the parents or caregivers is skyrocketing as a factor in Ohio child custody cases, according to first-ever state data on the effect of specific drugs on cases.

Figures run by the state human services agency show almost 7,000 instances where heroin was cited in child custody cases last year, an 83 percent increase from three years earlier.

The data also find methadone use growing slightly as a factor, while use of cocaine - still the top drug cited - is dropping slightly.

The data, the latest twist in the state's ongoing addictions epidemic, were released about a month after an annual Health Department report found record numbers of Ohioans dying of fatal heroin-related overdoses.

"These kids will have been through so much before they came to us, that they're going to need a lot of treatment themselves," state children's advocate Gayle Channing Tenenbaum told The Associated Press.

The state's analysis found 3,726 references to heroin in child-custody cases in 2010, compared with 6,827 last year, according to the numbers produced by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The hope is the data will help policy makers, administrators, caseworkers and others find the best way to serve children and families affected by drug abuse, said agency spokesman Benjamin Johnson.

The average stay in foster care is 70 days, but that number jumps to 300 days for children of parents addicted to drugs or alcohol, said Tenenbaum, governmental affairs director for the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

Tenenbaum is highlighting the numbers as she lobbies state lawmakers for an additional $20 million for more child custody caseworkers across Ohio.

Mariah Horn was taken from her home in Licking County in east-central Ohio at age 12 because of alcohol and drug abuse at home, including cocaine, alcohol and heroin. Her seven younger brothers and sisters were also placed in foster care. She told her story to lawmakers Tuesday.

Horn, now 20 and living in Johnstown northeast of Columbus, is studying to be a social worker because of her experiences. She says she survived by growing up quickly, by taking responsibility for her siblings when she was still at home and because of a positive foster home experience.

"I don't know where I'd be without them," she said. "Not here for sure."

Of 240 families involved in child custody cases in Licking County, drugs related to abuse or neglect are a factor for 155 families, said John Fisher, Licking County Job and Family Services director.

Addiction creates hardships for children and erects barriers for solving families' problem, he said.

"When you're dealing with drugs and alcohol it means a longer period of time that kids are out of care, out of that family unit," he said. "It's just a much harder situation to try to address, to work with."

  • RegionalMore>>

  • BREAKING NEWS

    Amber Alert canceled for missing Ohio girl

    Amber Alert canceled for missing Ohio girl

    Saturday, July 26 2014 8:34 AM EDT2014-07-26 12:34:53 GMT
    An Amber Alert has been issued for an Ohio child who police say was taken by her father. According to authorities, the Kaelin Hawkins, 34, took his daughter Kelcie Hawkins, 5, from Springdale, OH.  Police say Kaelin is armed with a knife and has threatened to kill anyone with him.  He was last seen driving a dark gray 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with Ohio license plate FNV 7233.
    An Amber Alert has been issued for an Ohio child who police say was taken by her father. According to authorities, the Kaelin Hawkins, 34, took his daughter Kelcie Hawkins, 5, from Springdale, OH.  Police say Kaelin is armed with a knife and has threatened to kill anyone with him.  He was last seen driving a dark gray 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with Ohio license plate FNV 7233.
  • Ohio State University fires marching band director

    Ohio State University fires marching band director

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:05:53 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.Jonathan Waters had led the band since 2012, and served in lesser capacities for a decade.
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.Jonathan Waters had led the band since 2012, and served in lesser capacities for a decade.
  • Ohio testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

    Ohio testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:04 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:04:41 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state of Ohio is again testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus after the program became a victim of federal budget cuts last year.
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state of Ohio is again testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus after the program became a victim of federal budget cuts last year.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Loved ones looking for answers in Toledo murder case

    Loved ones looking for answers in Toledo murder case

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:09:20 GMT
    Eddie Byrd started cutting Tyler McIntoush's hair when he was only 8-years-old. The Toledo barber was devastated to hear the carefree 16-year-old was shot and killed Thursday morning."They stole her son, my customer, and a friend," says Byrd. "We cant see him grow up can't see him graduate. It's just, emotions are messed up right now."According to police, the shooting happened near Collingwood and Boston Place just after 3 a.m. Today, a small memorial now sits near that spot. McIntosh's frien...
    Eddie Byrd started cutting Tyler McIntoush's hair when he was only 8-years-old. The Toledo barber was devastated to hear the carefree 16-year-old was shot and killed Thursday morning."They stole her son, my customer, and a friend," says Byrd. "We cant see him grow up can't see him graduate. It's just, emotions are messed up right now."According to police, the shooting happened near Collingwood and Boston Place just after 3 a.m. Today, a small memorial now sits near that spot. McIntosh's frien...
  • Vacant house fire on Erie

    Vacant house fire on Erie

    Saturday, July 26 2014 8:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 12:44:35 GMT
    Around 5 this morning a vacant house caught fire and is now set to be torn down. The fire happened on the 1400 block of N. Erie, at the intersection of Magnolia and Erie. The fire is out. There were no injuries. Flames were visible from 13abc's downtown action cam.
    Around 5 this morning a vacant house caught fire and is now set to be torn down. The fire happened on the 1400 block of N. Erie, at the intersection of Magnolia and Erie. The fire is out. There were no injuries. Flames were visible from 13abc's downtown action cam.
  • BREAKING NEWS

    Amber Alert canceled for missing Ohio girl

    Amber Alert canceled for missing Ohio girl

    Saturday, July 26 2014 8:34 AM EDT2014-07-26 12:34:53 GMT
    An Amber Alert has been issued for an Ohio child who police say was taken by her father. According to authorities, the Kaelin Hawkins, 34, took his daughter Kelcie Hawkins, 5, from Springdale, OH.  Police say Kaelin is armed with a knife and has threatened to kill anyone with him.  He was last seen driving a dark gray 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with Ohio license plate FNV 7233.
    An Amber Alert has been issued for an Ohio child who police say was taken by her father. According to authorities, the Kaelin Hawkins, 34, took his daughter Kelcie Hawkins, 5, from Springdale, OH.  Police say Kaelin is armed with a knife and has threatened to kill anyone with him.  He was last seen driving a dark gray 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with Ohio license plate FNV 7233.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!