Addiction fueling rising numbers of child neglect

COLORADO SPRINGS — News5 Investigates has learned you will not find a county in the State of Colorado that handles more reports of child abuse and neglect than El Paso County. Child welfare officials say you combine that with countywide substance abuse issues and it becomes a crisis.

The Department of Human Services in El Paso County showed News5 the numbers. By year end more than 16,500 calls will come into their office as reports of child abuse and neglect. Already this year at least 859 children have been removed from their homes. At least 2,495 in the last three years. That breaks down to about 7 kids a day. Child welfare experts say the opioid epidemic and substance abuse are big contributors to these numbers.

“These children have things in common that will always be problematic for them because using drugs was not their choice,” said Mary Stark.

Stark is a Court Appointed Special Advocate or CASA, who assists children experiencing child abuse and neglect by parents addicted to drugs or alcohol.

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