The Opioid Crisis: Investing in Solutions for Children and Families

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Overview

Please join the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Volunteers of America for a briefing to discuss solutions for children and families impacted by the opioid crisis. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 91 people die daily of opioid-related causes. As parents struggle with substance use disorders (SUDs), their children are often confronted with the need to be more independent and the risk and trauma of placement in the child welfare system. And for the most vulnerable children - those not yet born to mothers with SUDs or who are currently appropriately prescribed opioid medication and will be born prenatally exposed to opioids - the stakes couldn't be higher. The social and financial costs are exorbitant and have been trending higher for the past three years. Thankfully, there are trauma-informed therapeutic approaches to treatment for mothers and children that can address and alleviate these health impacts and help children and their families heal. 

Volunteers of America's network of 32 affiliates across the country and the American Academy of Pediatrics' 66,000 members are at the forefront of serving children and families struggling with addiction. A number of Volunteers of America affiliates are leading their state's treatment of individuals and families confronting the opioid crisis. These holistic and comprehensive programs are designed to treat the women's substance use disorder, to break the cycle of addiction in families, to reunite families broken apart by addiction and to promote optimal infant and child outcomes, including healthy birth, development and wellbeing. Ultimately these programs save families, strengthen communities and save taxpayer dollars. Pediatricians across the country work with children who are affected by parental substance use. This includes working to ensure the health, safety and appropriate development of infants prenatally exposed to substances, as well as caring for older children and youth who have experienced the trauma and disrupted attachment that arises from having a parent with a substance use disorder. As Congress examines opportunities to address the opioid epidemic, it is vital to ensure that its impact on children and families is a part of those discussions.

Speakers include:

  • Senator Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader (invited)
  • Leslie Boissiere, Vice President, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Mike King, President and CEO, Volunteers of America
  • Jennifer Hancock, President and CEO, Volunteers of America Mid-States (Louisville, KY)
  • Shannon Schumacher, Executive Vice President, Volunteers of America Indiana (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Mother from Kentucky and her infant (in recovery from opioid addiction)
  • Dr. Tara Benjamin, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, expert in treating women suffering from addiction, and Volunteers of America Indiana board member
  • Dr. Heather Forkey, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Foster Care, Adoption, and Kinship Care Executive Committee member and national expert in child trauma
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