Two children are drawing on paper using markers

The foster care system crisis has been a problem for years. It not only affects young children, but it can severely impact the life of a teen.

According to the Aug. 31, 2018 report from Department of Health and Human Resources, there are currently 6,623 children in the West Virginia foster care program. Almost 6 percent, or 395 children, are being housed out-of-state, mainly in group homes or long-term psychiatric facilities because there is no where for them to go.

In 2016, more than 20,000 teens aged out of foster care without permanent families, according to the DHHR. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to “forever families” have a higher likelihood than others in society to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.

All of those issues increase the likelihood of a person experiencing substance abuse or misuse, which continues the cycle of addiction. The foster care crisis is not just a West Virginia problem, but a nationwide issue that may never be resolved.