CHICOPEE (WWLP) -Thousands of children across the state, from newborns through age 17, are in foster care.

According to a report from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, in 2019 the number of children in foster care had risen sharply as a result of the opioid crisis.

InFocus: Addiction recovery and childrens’ mental health services on the rise during COVID-19

This Sunday at noon on 22News InFocus, we’re going to address how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children at risk for abuse and neglect.

We’ll be talking with Cassandra Hildreth, assistant program director for CASA Hampden County, the Court-Appointed Special Advocates program, that advocates for children being placed in foster care or needing permanent homes.

If you’d like to apply to volunteer to be a CASA advocate or offer other services to the program, you can contact them via the CASA website, or call 413-781-6556.