There has been a spike in the number of children entering Oneida County’s foster care system.
It’s not clear exactly why, but the numbers have jumped from 143 open cases last year to 179 so far this year.
At the same time, state funding for the foster care program is down by more than $1.1 million.
“We will continue to work to get these numbers down, but you have to make sure the children are safe,” said county Social Services Commissioner Lucille Soldato. “If they are not, you are going to have to go to Family Court asking for a removal. Unfortunately, we have had more of that than usual.”
Soldato said it’s possible the well-documented increase in the use of heroin and other opiates in the community is playing a role, but she said there might be other factors as well.