Reducing the Number of Children in Foster Care Due to Substance Use Disorders
Rural areas tend to experience persistent poverty,1 which can place children at higher risk for negative health outcomes. According to the most recent estimates from the 2018 American Community Survey, 22.4 percent of nonmetro children in the United States were poor, compared to 17.3 percent of metro children.2 Research has evidenced that in areas where poverty is prevalent, people face impediments beyond their individual circumstances, such as poor housing and health conditions, higher crime and school dropout rates, employment dislocations,3 and substance use disorders. These greater risks for rural residents are oftentimes self-perpetuating, systemic, and multi-generational. The stress that families living in poverty face contribute to the high rates of child abuse and neglect within rural communities. Growing up poor is a well-known risk factor for child maltreatment. The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (2010)4 reported that rural children had twice the rate of overall maltreatment as the general population.
1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. (2017a). Geography of poverty. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/ topics/rural-economy-population/rural-povertywell-being/geography-of-poverty.aspx
4 Sedlak, A. J., Mettenburg, J., Basnea, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., & Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ opre/nis4_report_congress_full_pdf_jan2010.pdf