ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Heather is the mom of two young boys, ages 5 and 8. Recently, she and her husband decided to welcome more children into their home as foster parents.
“It's always something I've had in my heart to do. With all that's going on in the world, some of the tiniest victims need the most help and so that's why I decided to become a foster parent,” said Heather, who did not want to give her last name.
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The Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition of Greater St. Louis said, over the last five years, it has seen an increase of about 15 to 30 percent of children needing foster care. It is due largely to the opioid epidemic.
“We're definitely in need of foster parents who are willing to stay committed for a while. We know those who are on opioids do relapse,” said Jan Joeckel, the director of general recruitment at the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition.
The organization has been using social media to raise awareness of the need. Most recently, it sent out postcards to homes in St. Louis County.
“Generally, most people have thought about it a while and it might be a postcard that triggers their desire to call,” said Joeckel.
In St. Louis, about 40 percent of the children brought into foster care so far this year have been due to drug use.
“It kind of makes me speechless,” said Heather, who has fostered a child born addicted to opioids. “These kids and their bodies have been put through so much. We are there while they need us to be there, and we are there for whatever they need us for.”
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