We provide public policy education and advocacy to raise awareness of the issues facing foster families and children in their care.
Through policy change, legislative action and reforming Oregon’s foster care system we can hold those in power accountable.
Oregon’s foster children are all of our children, and together we can stand in the gap on their behalf.
Since 2011, there have been over 11,000 children in the Oregon foster care system each year. These children are vulnerable and are often the victims of child abuse and neglect. (SOS Audit Pg. 3)
In 2016, news broke that lawyers for two children in DHS’ care had filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging that DHS’ increasing practice of housing children in hotels and offices violated state and federal laws. DHS management has acknowledged the ongoing and increasing shortage of placements, including available foster homes, that contribute to these practices. (SOS Audit Pg. 7)
Since 2006, DHS has paid out $39 million in legal settlements due to the agency’s inability to consitently keep children in their care safe from abuse and neglect. (SOS Audit Pg. 13)
DHS management has not prioritized foster care recruitment and retention, which has contributed to a steep decline in career foster homes that serve the majority of Oregon’s foster children. (SOS Audit Pg. 24)
In 2016, about 9 of every 1,000 children in Oregon were in foster care, nearly double the national average of 5 out of 1,000. The number of Oregon children in foster care has declined by 14 percent since 2011, but the total number of available foster homes has also declined by 15 percent since that time. (SOS Audit Pg. 25)
The lack of appropriate foster placements allows children to fall through the cracks in the system, moving repeatedly from placement to placement. One child we talked with had been moved close to 20 times, and one caseworker shared an instance of a child who had been moved over 50 times since entering the foster system. Each move from a placement causes damage to a child’s wellbeing. (SOS Audit Pg. 28)
The best advice I have from one foster child to another is that you never give up... Never think that you are worthless.
...You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
What makes a family is neither the absence of tragedy nor the ability to hide from misfortune, but the courage to overcome it and from that broken past, write a new beginning.
Steve Pemberton author of A Chance in the World
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
People say, ‘Your son is so lucky to have you two as parents, but my reply back is ‘no, we are so lucky he is our son, and now we have a family.’ Nothing has made me a better man than being his dad.
Oregon Foster Families First Executive Director Ben West