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Why DHS Foster Care Needs Reforms:
An audit showed that DHS Management has failed to implement prior reform recommendations.
The agency has had $40 million in legal payouts in the last 12 years because they couldn’t consistently keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
An audit showed DHS has overwhelming staff case loads, chronic understaffing, high turnover and a serious need for better management practices.
Public records show high-level state officials have refused to crack down on bad foster care providers, even renewing contracts after reports of abuse, uncleanliness, starvation and fraud.
There aren’t enough group homes or treatment facilities to meet needs for kids taken out of their family homes. Available foster homes in Oregon has declined by 15 percent since 2011.
Oregon DHS has repeatedly failed to protect vulnerable foster children, putting them at risk for abuse and neglect.
Foster parents don’t get enough training or support; DHS has failed to adequately recruit and retain foster parents; Burnout and turnover are high among child welfare workers.
Oregon auditors revealed caseworkers dumped children into hotels and other unsafe “housing.” Oregon temporarily lodged 213 children in motel rooms on a single night in 2017.
Since 2011, more than 11,000 Oregon kids have been placed into foster care annually, with an average of about 7,600 kids in foster care on any given day.
Oregon taxpayers spend nearly $12 million a year to provide lawyers for every child in the foster system. Yet, the state has no system to monitor the quality of legal work for foster care children. Some children never meet with their taxpayer funded lawyers and even when there are complaints, there are rarely any consequences.
A federal study showed Oregon’s child welfare system failed in every area, is allowing ongoing abuse and is failing to conduct regular check-ins with foster children.
Gov. Brown failed to make the safety of vulnerable foster children a priority until after a scathing audit was released in January.