Marion County Children Services asks for levy, says costs rising with opioid epidemic

Local News

Marion County Children Services is asking for the passage of a new levy this November.

This comes at a time when that department is experiencing increased caseloads and rising costs in the wake of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Bryant Brown with Marion County Children Services says the 1.5 mill levy will generate about 3 million each year for the next 10 years 

He adds it would help them keep up with the cost of placing children in homes.

“We’re not even able to meet the placement cost with the local levy dollars anymore,” said Brown.

Year to year there has been a 95 percent increase in children entering custody in Marion County since 2014.

The number one reason for the removal of children from their homes, according to Marion County Children Services, is parental substance abuse. The drug of choice is primarily opioids.

“A lot of people don’t understand the unintended consequences of this heroin and opioid epidemic is that these parents are suffering,” said Brown. “The silent victim, the children, are also suffering.”

Bethani Temple, who works in the Marion County Family Court, sees the issue far too often.

“I see families being torn apart,” said Temple. “I see destruction.”

She once was an addict and her oldest daughter was born drug addicted.

“That was my life. I lived through that life and I understand what it takes to get out of that life.”

Temple believes through help and guidance by the Marion County Children Services, there can be more success stories like hers.

“Drug addicts aren’t bad people,” said Temple “They’re good people who make poor choices.”

Bryant added that the levy money would make-up half of their annual budget the other half comes from state and federal money. 

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