Drug epidemic leaving more children in need of foster homes

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BUFFALO COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local county says a rise in drug use is leading to more kids in need of a good home. Buffalo County is calling on qualified people to help provide safe homes for foster children.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the need for foster parents is rising and has been for the last three years. The reason for the growing need is the result of growing drug abuse issues and the impact it has on families.

“There’s been an influx of availability and use of drugs that are fairly cheap and prevalent. Methamphetamine being in the lead and certainly the high incidents of prescribing of opioid prescription medications," said Dave Rynders, Director of Health and Human Services for Buffalo County.

The department says parents dealing with drug abuse are not getting the treatment they need to recover, creating an unsafe environment for their children. "We not only need more treatment availability but we need treatment that effective especially with drugs like methamphetamine where a longer course of treatment is necessary,” said Rynders.

While the need for foster families here in Buffalo County is rising, officials say it’s important for people to understand the commitment that goes into being a foster parent. "Sometimes the behavior that they'll deal with will be very challenging. The child pushing away the foster parent, trying to be rejected again, not wanting to trust, acting out, violent behavior, mental health issues," said Rynders.

Past and present foster parents say although it’s not easy, making a difference in a child’s life is worth it. "I can’t say enough about helping another child who was just brought into this world and just needs and wants love," said Bridget Weisenbeck of Urne.

Buffalo County Social Worker, Carri Renchin is a foster parent and says fostering provides a chance to give back to your community.
“Foster care can be very challenging but it can be very rewarding at the same time, “said Renchin.

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