Over 55% of youth in the NKY rural areas live in high poverty areas. In 6 counties, the rate of children in NKY in foster care exceeds that of Kentucky’s overall rate of 47.3 (Kids Count Data Center, 2020). More than half of the children in NKY in foster care are not able to be placed in foster homes. The
numbers do not include children living out of home with friends, neighbors, and relatives, or moving among the three.
For the second year in a row, Kentucky is ranked first among all states in child maltreatment. Kentucky has ranked either first or second for the past seven years and in the top 10 for more than a decade. All but 2 of the NKY counties rate of child abuse or neglect cases with substance abuse involvement exceeded the Kentucky rate of 61% as a whole (Kids Count Data, 2020); in 3 of the NKY counties, the percentage of substance use involvement in child abuse or neglect cases exceeds 70%.
In NKY, all the districts except Beechwood Independent have at least two markers for disadvantage, and most have three or more. Fourteen out of 20 NKY school districts are either mid-to-high or high poverty districts. Approximately 3% of children in KY are homeless. Almost a third of NKY school districts exceed Kentucky rates of homeless children and a quarter have rates more than double those of Kentucky. The average national rate of per pupil funding is $11,762; for Kentucky, the average is only $9,863. Eight of the NKY school districts are in the bottom third of Kentucky district per pupil funding, and three are in the bottom ten.
Additionally, symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation have increased consistently over the past 4 years in students, and mental health indicators are getting worse and are starting at a younger age. Prescription painkiller past 30-day usage has also increased across tested age groups in middle and high schools (Ronis-Tobin, 2019). Our own focus group data from transitioning youth suggest that they would like increased access to behavioral health care but feel stymied by older resident’s perceptions and reactions.
Finally, 3/4ths of those overdosing in NKY are younger than age 36, which is a new trend in OUD/SUD. Young males aged 25-34 had the greatest number of
overdose deaths in 2015, for the first time exceeding the number for the males
aged 45-54. This trend has continued through today (NKYHD, 2020). The majority of EMS opioid related incidents are in this age group as well. This suggests that the majority of SUD/OUD in NKY is now being initiated in adolescence.
All of these data suggest that the basic family structure in these counties is being threatened by substance misuse.
Students majoring in a Human Services related program through Northern Kentucky University have an opportunity to apply for the Opioid Impacted Family Support Program (OIFSP) scholarship. This is a collaborative program that involves various community partners and is designed to prepare students for employment specific to working with individuals impacted by substance use disorder (SUD). If selected for this scholarship, students will receive up to $3500 in scholarship funds and up to $5000 in stipend funds while completing required internships. Students will receive on-sitetraining at agencies which specify in working with youth, adolescents, and
families impacted by SUD. Applications are accepted for admission during the
Spring, Fall and Summer Semesters.
Upon graduation, the students will be required to maintain employment within the Northern Kentucky region or within an underserved/rural area for two years. Students may choose to attend graduate school upon graduation, which will fulfill the two-year work commitment.
Students may apply for the program once they have established a major within a program related to human services. A completed interview, background check, and resume are required for consideration of acceptance into the OIFSP Scholarship Program. Students should contact their advisor to be sure of required courses and academic trajectory.
There is an additional Level (Level II) to the OIFSP scholarship. At this level, students may complete an apprenticeship with a community partner for one year, working directly with individuals impacted by SUD. Students will receive full-time pay with partnering agencies and up to an additional $7500 stipend while completing apprenticeship. Students will receive additional support through an Apprenticeship course, designed to provide mentorship to students.
Up to $3000 in scholarship funds
Up to $2500 stipend per semester (while
completing internship/field placement)
Specialized coursework related to families and
youth impacted by SUD
Internship/Field Placement to offer extensive
training in working with individuals impacted by SUD
Apprenticeship (1 year) specific to working with individuals impacted by SUD
Up to an additional $7500 stipend
Apprenticeship course to provide support and mentoring to students
Upon admission to program must be full- or part-time major in a Human Service program at Northern Kentucky University.
Overall cumulative GPA minimum of 2.5
Must complete 4 required courses
Must complete required internships/field placements
Must participate in courses required while completing internships/field placements
A commitment to working within the Northern Kentucky region or underserved areas for two years OR must enroll in graduate school to fulfill two-year work requirement
NKU OIFSP Coordinator