The opioid crisis that has gripped the nation in recent years has inevitably also taken Indiana by storm. Although more crucially affected areas are the states of West Virginia and Ohio, Indiana is home to thousands of children who are forced to reassess their definitions of home itself — all because of the opioid addictions and prescription drug-related deaths of their parents. In such situations, grandparents often come to the rescue.
The Kokomo Tribune covers the recent shift in family dynamics in Indiana, where grandparents take custody when the parents of children are suffering from substance abuse. The Kokomo points out that this occurrence is increasingly common in Indiana, as well as in other states affected by the opioid crisis. Oftentimes, the Indiana Department of Child Services intervenes when parents fail to supply basic necessities and healthy and safe environments for their children. Not only do these actions affect children; grandparents must forfeit future plans in order to best meet the needs of their newly-adopted grandchildren. The Kokomo adds that the numbers of children living with grandparents as a result of their parents’ opioid addictions are only climbing: as of this year, 110,000 Hoosier children are living with their grandparents, and that number has snowballed in the last decade.
Grandparents are usually the first choice when it comes to providing safer conditions for children living in unhealthy households. While the adoption of grandchildren can bring much joy to Indiana residents, PBS News points out that this shift in adoption of grandchildren can also come with a number of challenges. In some cases, grandparents are struggling with addictions, as well. As a result, a large number of children must live in foster care. Adoption agences attempt to find relatives beyond grandparents who can help, but report difficulty in finding ones who will take on the responsibility. Grandparents may come to the rescue, but other obstacles include the often overwhelming emotional and financial stress that can come with adopting children in later years of life.