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Parents' Opiate Abuse Drives Increase In Adoptions Of Kids In State Custody

The lack of permanence in the foster care system is a well-understood problem, and sometimes the path to adoption is long and difficult. That's why it's notable that the number of total adoptions in Vermont in 2016 is higher than it's been in years.

By the end of 2016, a total of 264 kids will have been adopted in Vermont, up from 179 last year, as the Burlington Free Press reported earlier this week.

Wanda Audette is the director of adoption at Lund, a private non-profit that partners with the state to facilitate adoptions of kids in state custody.

Audette told Vermont Editionthat during the period of Sept. 1 to Dec. 23, Lund will have worked on 115 adoptions, with 105 of those being kids in the custody of Vermont's Department for Children and Families. She adds that the opiate crisis has been a notable reason for kids being placed in state custody.

"Unfortunately the children that are coming into state's custody, they're coming in because of abuse or neglect, and so there's some trauma that they carry," Audette says.

"And so we want to make sure that if they cannot go back home in a timely manner, that then they can be adopted and that we can get the adoptions done for those children as soon as possible so that they can really start the healing process."

Audette also spoke about the difference between the private adoption process and those involving the state, the caseload currently being handled by Lund and DCF, and what the next steps would be for people considering adoption or becoming a foster parent.

Listen to the full interview above.

Patti is an integral part of VPR's news effort and part of the team that created Vermont Edition. As executive producer, Patti supervises the team that puts Vermont Edition on the air every day, working with producers to select and research show ideas, select guests and develop the sound and tone of the program.
A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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