Faces of the Opioid Epidemic: Ohio Valley woman helps raise next generation

Community

“When you leave children behind…oh God.”

On September 12th, 2016, Karen Hill’s life changed forever as drugs took the life of her daughter, Chelsie.

“You’re not supposed to go through this with your children. That’s what you want to think. But then my daughter got with the wrong crowd. She was 28 years old when she passed away. Her whole life is gone,” Hill said.

After losing her daughter, Karen’s chapter in motherhood started all over again.

She currently helps care for Chelsie’s two children, working 73 hours to help provide.

“I didn’t have time to grieve. Seeing them everyday, seeing the hurt they were going through, what do you say? What do you do? It’s terrible. It’s just sad. I can give them anything in this world, but there’s something I can’t give them, their mom,” Hill said.

Unfortunately, that’s the sad reality for thousands of kids in West Virginia and Ohio.

The Unity Center Executive Director Mary Hess said reports show 85% of kids in West Virginia’s foster care system are there because they come from drug problem homes.

“With that kind of number, we don’t have enough foster parents to take care of those kids. We don’t have enough room in the homes to take care of these kids. Then, kids get lost into the foster care system, so it’s really important families stick together,” Hess said.

Sticking together is what Karen plans to do.

She said it’s an honor to help raise her grandchildren in memory of her daughter. 

But if she can reach anyone with her story, she hopes to reach parents.

“Anybody out there who has children who are involved with these drugs. Don’t be afraid to say something. What took Chelsie can take anybody, and if you can take care of the babies, take care of them. You’re all they have,” Hill said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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