Nico'Lee, who is a member of the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council, shares some inspiring words on how agencies can better help families. (Foster Club)

Trauma, Opiates and Child Welfare: How Family-Serving Agencies Can Do Better

By all outward appearances, I grew up in a normal American family. My parents had respectable jobs in construction and nursing, a four-bedroom home, family dog and a playhouse my father built from the ground up. My sister and I participated in cheerleading and orchestra, and earned straight As in school.

But my parents struggled with untreated mental health issues — my mother likely had PTSD, while my father struggled with depression. After both my paternal grandparents died (in 1999 and 2003), my parents’ attempts to self-medicate with heroin started to overrule their lives.

That’s a story that millions of families in the U.S. can relate to. Last month, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Overdoses kill 142 Americans a day, according to a recent report.

Read more here.

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