Budget Deal Provides $1.5 Billion For Babies Born With Drug Dependence And Their Families

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Budget Deal Provides $1.5 Billion For Babies Born With Drug Dependence And Their Families

Last week, Congress adopted a new budget deal that includes a provision of $1.5 billion in funds issued for a decade to assist infants with drug dependence, those who were born to mothers addicted to opioids, such as heroin.

These funds will allow for mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment, as well as parenting assistance when a child is considered to be at imminent risk of entering the foster care system. It also provides support for relatives who must assume responsibility for a child when a parent is unable to care for them adequately.

According to a Reuters report, over 110 infants died between 2010-2015 after being born addicted to opioids and sent home to parents who were not equipped to care for them.

This provision is part of a budget deal that relieves fights over spending that transpired during Trump’s first year in office. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, said the funding “will usher in the most significant improvements to the child welfare system in decades and provide real help to families to fight the opioid epidemic.”

The change results in a new stream of money from a Social Security program that previously limited to foster care, and provides around $1.5 billion over a ten year period to intervene and reduce the number of children entering the foster care system.

This action was part of a broader budget agreement that includes around $6 billion to be allocated for opioid addiction and mental health issues.

The agreement describes assisting children by providing funds for “mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services or in-home parent skill-based programs” and for families battling addiction who remain together in treatment facilities.

According to the non-profit organization Children and Family Futures, in 2016, around 49,000 babies were placed in care out-of-home who could have been helped by services as noted in the new law.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology



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