Pubdate: Sun, 11 May 2008
Source: Altoona Mirror (PA)
Copyright: 2008 Altoona Mirror
Bookmark: (Youth)


Those who argue for the legalization of drugs often  call it a 
victimless crime. The rise in the number of  area children of 
drug-addicted parents being placed for  adoption shows that claim is a lie.

In too many cases, youngsters are paying the price for  their 
parents' addictions by living in challenging  environments.

A recent case involving a 1-year-old boy highlighted in  last 
Sunday's Mirror tells the sad tale.

Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva terminated the  parental rights of 
the boy's 28-year-old father and  24-year-old mother. The toddler and 
his brother, who  have the same mother but a different father, were 
found  living in an abandoned house with the 1-year-old's  parents, 
who were wanted for attempted robbery and  theft.

The boy's father told the judge that when he gets out  of jail, he 
wanted to get a house and a job and to take  care of his son. It's a 
nice sentiment, but as the  judge wisely noted, the boy needs more 
stability and to  be in a "trusting environment" now.

The father, who is a heroin addict, has been in six  jails in 10 
months. That does not provide a lot of  optimism that the father will 
be able to provide the  type of home environment his child needs.

Sadly, this case isn't unique. Last year, 40 children  in Blair 
County, 51 in Cambria County and 35 in  Clearfield County were placed 
for adoption, Department  of Public Welfare statistics show.

An attorney for Blair County Children and Youth  Services says drug 
abuse is one of the biggest reasons  for seeking to terminate 
parental rights and place  children for adoption.

Drug abuse also was cited as a contributing factor in  14 percent of 
substantiated child abuse cases for which  a cause was listed.

Pennsylvania recorded 4,162 substantiated reports of  child abuse in 
2007, according to the Department of  Public Welfare. Factors 
contributing to the abuse were  reported in 3,199 of the cases.

Clearly too many children are suffering because of the  substance 
abuse of their parents

Being adopted into a loving, stable home may be in the  child's best 
interests. But it still requires the child  to adjust, possibly to a 
new home setting - and  that's after the child has been in the foster 
care  system for a period of time. The child hasn't done anything 
wrong, but it's his life that is upended.

We hope for the best for the children who wind up being  put up for 
adoption and/or must live with other  relatives because of substance 
abuse by their parents.  They deserve better.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom