NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — State officials report an unexpected rise in the number of children in Rhode Island who were removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse.

The Providence Journal reports that the Department of Children, Youth and Families' Child Protective Services division says more than 280 children were removed from their homes from July 1, 2013, to Nov. 30, 2013. That's an average of nearly two a day and nearly 60 percent more than the same five-month period the year before.

More than three-fourths of the children were younger than 12.

State officials say much of the spike is due to the state's surge in opioid drug abuse. But advocates and service providers say the increase also reflects a more widespread lack of available services, including drug treatment, to help keep families together.

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