POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The drug problem in Meigs, Mason and Gallia counties is causing a big increase in the number of children in need of foster families. In many cases, those families aren't available.
Meigs County Juvenile Court Judge Scott Powell says the number of cases involving children being removed from homes because of drug problems has gone up 300 percent in the last two to three years.
"It's sad to see kids grow up, and this is the household that they're in," Powell said.
His court used to see approximately one case per month involving a child removed from home because of drugs. Now, he sees more than one case per week.
He says the problem is a vicious cycle.
"We see a lot of children that are failing drug tests coming out of homes where the moms and dads are using drugs," Powell said. "So they see it as being permissive. They see it as being OK. They find the drugs that their parents take and alcohol. It's where a huge majority of them start."
Tammy McKenzie has two adopted children, ages 6 and 3.
"It's a challenge to see how you can better them and try to teach them there's a better way to live," McKenzie said. "Let them see a family environment ... You know, sitting down and eating supper together."
She recognizes the challenges of foster parenting, but says it's worth it in the end.
"We know that they need a lot of love," McKenzie said. "And a lot of support. Because we don't know what the future's going to hold."
A meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Soul Harvest Church in Mason, W.Va,. for anyone interested in becoming a foster parent. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.
"You have to be prepared," McKenzie said. "There's heartache. But there's so much joy."
Anyone who may be interested in becoming a foster parent, would like more information, or has questions about foster parenting is welcome to attend.