For the first time ever, parental drug abuse was the primary reason children in Minnesota were placed into foster care.

Chuck Johnson is assistant Commissioner of the state Department of Human Services and said the end goal is always to reunite families and, “What happens when the child goes into foster care is we then try to work with the parents to put them in a position where we can return the child. And when drug use is the issue that means treatment. So helping those parents get the treatment that they need.”

Johnson said in 2016 more than 60-percent of the kids who were placed in foster care were reunited with their parents.

Johnson added that there are significant disparities within foster care and the children who are placed, and, “An African American child was about three-times as likely as a white child to be placed in foster care. But the real significant one is with American Indian kids who are 17 times more likely to be placed in foster care than is a white child.”

This is the first time drug use has overtaken neglect.