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The opioid crisis and changing family dynamics

With the opioid crisis still having a firm grip on Americans across the nation, countless children are left in tricky and desperate situations. Child custody is an area that has extended beyond typical family separations and into a widespread public issue. New Jersey, along with many other states, has seen a rise in the number of grandparent-led households as a result of the crisis.

For a plethora of grandparents, considering child custody is a bigger concern than planning one's retirement. NBC News comments on the ways the opioid crisis has shifted family dynamics over recent years, resulting in grandparents taking full child custody of their children's children to rescue them from unhealthy environments. Some children even go to foster care when grandparents are not in the picture or simply cannot take on the massive responsibility of childrearing. In fact, 30,000 more children entered foster care in 2015 than in 2012, as NBC shared. Most state and federal officials blame the opioid epidemic for this major shift. 

Child custody is certainly changing, causing grandparents nationwide to reconsider their life goals and plans. PBS News emphasizes that not only must grandparents deal with a child struggling with drug addiction; they must also raise grandchildren they did not expect to raise. Other relatives are also taking the blow of the drug crisis, stepping in when parents cannot. Families can take extensive time to adjust to this drastic financial and emotional life change. PBS notes that, in many cases, grandparents are struggling with their own drug addictions, as well. While families continue to grapple with this issue, some states have fortunately begun making plans to assist. In the meantime, however, grandparents face multiple challenges when transitioning back into a life of raising children.    


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