Jan 11, 2017WCAX
MONTPELIER, Vt. - A new report released Wednesday morning says the ongoing opiate issue is creating custody challenges for Vermont families.
The fifth annual Bright Futures Report was unveiled at the State House. The nonprofit collects data from around the state to take a snap shot of issues like health care and education for children up to eight years. One of the key findings this year -- rates of young children under state protected custody particularly under the age of 3 continues to rise and is spurred in large part by ongoing opiate abuse problems.
"We have young children that are going into custody at higher rates that we have seen in many years. For example, there was a 41 percent increase in children under the age of nine going into state custody and there was a 62 percent increase in children under 3," said Sarah Squirrell, Bright Futures executive director.
Other concerns in the report -- with the majority of both parents working, finding affordable, high-quality child care for young children remains an issue. Some bright spots include the number of insured Vermont children is now tied with Massachusetts -- the best in the country. And Vermont children under age 3 receiving the full series of CDC recommended vaccines reached a record high of 76-percent last year.