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Courts, CPS flooded with kids affected by heroin

Posted at 9:46 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 21:46:09-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Increasingly, county courts and the state child welfare system say they're being flooded with cases of children impacted by the growing heroin crisis.

Across the state, the number of children in need of services because of their drug-addicted parents grew by 30 percent in 2015. In Indianapolis, the toll is even more staggering.

"When I got pulled over, they took my kids from me and I Had heroin on me," one parent said. "If you don't pull it off, it's going to keep sucking the life out of you until there's nothing left."

Judge Marilyn Moores presides over the Marion County Juvenile Court, which has seen an explosion in child in need of services (CHINS) cases because of opiate-addicted parents.

In 2013, nearly 2,300 children were placed in protective custody. The following year, CHINS cases jumped 44 percent. And last year, the caseload reached a record 3,776 cases.

"If we don't get it under control, we're going to lose a generation," Moores said. "And my message to parents: If you're addicted, please don't have a baby. Please, please, please don't have a baby until you're clean. And get help."

In Indianapolis, as many as five children each week are born to mothers using heroin.

In the past year, the number of cases where the court has terminated parental rights grew by 31 percent. As bad as that seems, Moores believes Indianapolis has yet to see the worst of the crisis.

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