foster care

Greyerbaby/Pixabay

Oregon's struggling child foster care system took another hit recently.  The Audit Division of the Secretary of State's Office released an audit that showed the Department of Human Services making only slow progress on problems pointed out in an earlier audit a year ago. 

The major problems center around numbers: too many children in foster care for the available placements, and too few caseworkers to guide children to appropriate care. 

There are some signs of progress in the latest audit, too. 

Pixabay

Oregon's foster care system for children needs a lot of work, there's general agreement on that.  A lawsuit against the state revealed issues caused by shortages of parents and caseworkers, like children being kept in motels instead of private homes. 

An audit by the secretary of state revealed these and other issues.  So what will it take to patch the holes, and can enough foster parents be found to ensure that all children entering care are welcomed into safe environments? 

Steevven1/Wikimedia

The flow of children into foster care ebbs and flows, and it is flowing now, in a big way. 

The number of children who have entered the foster care system in Douglas County alone has increased from 41 children in 2013 to 204 children so far this year.

That’s a 398 percent increase, according to data released this year from the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Chris Darling/Wikimedia

The child foster care system can't seem to stay out of the news for long. 

The very concept of foster care comes with some issues: removing children from their homes and putting them in the care of strangers.  Tweaks and overhauls come about from time to time, but some issues remain. 

The court appointed special advocate--CASA--system is designed to keep another set of eyes on kids in foster care, and the voluntary system is always looking for new volunteers. 

CASA of Siskiyou County is one of many such programs around the country, and we learn more about the system in this interview. 

Foster Youth Comment On Foster Care

Aug 1, 2016
Chris Darling/Wikimedia

Taking children away from their parents and placing them in foster homes can be a bumpy process for all the people involved. 

Just ask the young people who were placed in foster care.  We do just that, in a chat with Oregon Foster Youth Connection

OFYC is an advocacy group made up of current and former foster kids, ages 14 to 25. 

Michelle Palmer from Lane County, who does some national work on the issue, joins us. 

Fixing Foster Care In Oregon

Mar 21, 2016
Steevven1/Wikimedia

Foster care for children always begins with a crisis. 

Child welfare agencies do not have the luxury of planning in advance to remove children from biological parents and place them with foster parents. 

But several voices in Oregon say the state can do a better job making sure children in the system are properly cared for.  The voices include state Rep. Duane Stark of Grants Pass, himself a foster parent. 

Stark helped pass some bills relating to foster care in the recently completed legislative session. 

Examining The Foster Care System

Nov 4, 2015
Wikimedia

More than a quarter of a million children go into foster care in the United States every year, often because they were abused or neglected at home. 

The numbers and causes fluctuate a bit, as do concerns about the system. 

The foster care system in Oregon gets some attention next week (November 10th) in a town hall meeting set up to share ideas on improving the system. 

The Jackson County Foster Parent Association is a partner in the meeting with Oregon State Representative Duane Stark, who represents parts of Jackson and Josephine Counties. 

"Three More Words" About Foster Care

Jul 9, 2015
Atheneum Books

Ashley Rhodes lived in a foster home.  Then another, and another, and so on.

14 foster homes in all, before she was adopted at age 12. 

Now Ashley Rhodes-Courter, she speaks and writes about her experiences, and the successful life she's built in spite of years of neglect and abuse in the foster system in Florida. 

Her second memoir is Three More Words (after the earlier Three Little Words). 

Foster Care Month And Differential Response

May 16, 2014
Wikimedia

Lane, Klamath and Lake Counties are the first in Oregon to adopt a Different Response Model that could reduce placements of children in foster care.

May is Foster Care Month, a chance to discuss the events that lead to foster care for kids. 

Reports of child abuse and neglect require a response from child welfare authorities. 

But it is not always the same response.

Foster Care Ombudsman For Oregon

Feb 5, 2014
Grant Barrett/Wikimedia

Foster care is meant to keep children safe and healthy, but taking kids away from their parents is tough on everyone involved: children, birth parents, and foster parents.

There are advocates available for children, but Oregon is now about to take a further step.