Surge In Children Removed From Homes Due To Neglect Or Abuse In Rhode Island

Jul 22, 2014

A reported surge in the number of children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect is raising concern across the state.  Addiction is a major cause.

Chris Dorval manages programs at an addiction treatment facility called Clinical Services of Rhode Island. Dorval says that over the past couple of years, he’s treated a growing number of clients whose children have been removed from their homes. But Dorval said he thinks there’s more to it than just the increasing number of people addicted to opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers.

“Part of what I’m seeing is that the problem, the prevalence of it remains the same, the addiction is still there, but there still seems to be a stigma with opioid use, primarily with the lifestyle that accompanies it," said Dorval.

That might include intravenous drug use. Dorval said he believes alcohol abuse is less stigmatized, and so state authorities might not be intervening with alcoholic caregivers as often. But Dorval said the bigger problem is a lack of comprehensive addiction treatment and services to help keep families together.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.