Rise in drug abuse and mental illness cause increase need in foster care in Lancaster County

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The number of children entering foster care in Lancaster County has hit a five-year high. And part of this has to do with the heroin epidemic. A report by the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children shows foster care placements rose 53% over the last two years.

Two years ago, Cathy Ginder and her husband became foster parents.

Ginder says, "We value life, we think each person is special and this is a way we could show that actively."

Cobys Family Services placed them with siblings, who are three and six years old. Their choice to be a foster family is what agencies like Cobys are asking others to make.

Mary Sourber is the director of placement services at Cobys . She says, "There are so many kids in foster care in Pennsylvania, the county's children in youth agencies are over burdened they don't have enough of their foster families, so they contact us to provide homes."

Sourber says drugs and mental health issues are wreaking havoc on their children, so the need for foster families intensifies.

Sourber says, "Our families have stress on them because of the environment they live in and the drugs and alcohol increase the dysfunction."

Cobys currently has 60 children placed in foster care. There are more foster children than families, and so county officials are looking for help.

Sourber says, "We could have twice that number if we had families that were willing to take older children, 10 years and older."

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