After Effects of the Crack Cocaine Crisis Twenty years ago the nation faced a new drug scourge: crack cocaine. With it came thousands of children born to addicted mothers and labeled "crack babies." When the drug first hit the streets of New York in the 1980s, the city had 17,000 children in foster care. A decade later, that number had soared to 50,000. Many of the children had been exposed to crack cocaine before birth. NPR's Cheryl Corley speaks with several people who were affected in some way by the crack epidemic.