Data shows more orphans, parental drug deaths

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WOODBURY -

A growing number of grandparents and other relatives are taking in children orphaned by their parents' drug abuse, according to new data.

More than 3 million children are in the care of non-parental family members or in foster care, according to the 2015 census data.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, head of the Family and Children's Association, says the numbers could get even worse.

"The number of fatalities has increased exponentially," he says. "These kids need someone who they can talk to, and in a lot of cases they are going to need care and support well into their 20s and beyond."

Tatiana Green, a recovering addict who now helps others get clean, says she's seen it happen firsthand.

"I have a really close friend that lost her son, and he had just recently had a child, or his wife to be was pregnant," Green says. "Now she and the mother are raising the child."

And according to Generations United, nearly 40 percent of grandparents caring for their orphaned grandkids are over 60 years old. One in five of them lives below the poverty line.

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