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Tennessee agency: Foster care needs grow amid opioid crisis

Opioids pills

AP Photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee agency is asking for tens of millions of dollars more in the upcoming state budget to address growing foster care needs amid the opioid epidemic.

Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said at a budget hearing Monday that since 2016, Tennessee has seen a 10.3 percent increase in the number of children in foster care. She said the jump is due largely to the scourge of opioid abuse.

The department is requesting $78 million in budget increases through state and federal money, including $64 million more for foster children case management and treatment services.

New Gov. Bill Lee told reporters that the state will invest in addressing the opioid crisis, saying he is weighing a number of ideas. He said there’s opportunity for state departments to collaborate.

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