We want to reduce the rate of children and youth in out of home care as part of our efforts to ensure that all Vermonters are healthy and safe and families are safe, nurturing, stable, and supported.
The number of children in out of home care has increased steadily since 2012. Much of this can be attributed to the steady increase in the number of children in DCF custody. Since 2014, the number of children coming into DCF custody increased by 12.5%. This increase can be partially attributed to substance abuse (particularly opiates) among families with young children. Based on data collected from FSD staff between 2014 and 2017, approximtely 50% of the children, aged 0-5, came into custody because of opioid abuse in their families.
There is more work to be done to assure child safety and support vulnerable families. However, it is anticipated that the rate of children and youth in out of home care will begin to level off, based on findings from the 2019 Report on Child Protection in Vermont.