Oregon DHS reports lowest number of foster children in 16 years

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Despite the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon Department of Human Services, Division of Child Protection, said Wednesday it continues to reduce the use of foster families by connecting families to resources and services that support children and young adults to stay safely at home with their families.

On January 1, there were 5,393 children in foster care, the lowest number of children in care in 16 years.

The DHS press release continues in full below:

The Division of Child Welfare is committed to meeting the individual needs of children and families to better serve Oregon’s children and youth. Child Welfare Division Transformation Vision is the Oregon Division of Child Protection’s roadmap and compass for transforming itself and the child and family welfare system.

“We all know that infants, children, adolescents and young adults grow up best in a family that can provide them with love, support, lifelong learning, shared values ​​and important memories,” said the director of child protection, Rebecca Jones Gaston. “That’s why we are committed to doing all we can to provide the supports needed to help families stay together safely and reduce reliance on unnecessary foster families.”

Child Protection Division key data for 2021:

  • The number of children placed in foster care has decreased by approximately 11% compared to 2020.
  • The Oregon Child Abuse Hotline (ORCAH) received approximately 175,000 contacts, an 11% increase from 2020.
  • Of the contacts received at ORCAH, approximately 46%, or 80,000, were reports of suspected abuse and neglect. This is an 8% increase from 2020.
  • In 2021, 55% of child abuse reports resulted in the assignment of a CPS assessment. In 2020, the assignment rate was 53%.
  • Family reunifications in 2021: 1,699
  • Adoptions finalized in 2021: 538
  • Guardianships finalized in 2021: 365
  • Oregon continues to serve all children in the state. No children were placed in out-of-state residential treatment facilities in 2021.

Main achievements in 2021

In 2021, the Division of Child Protection is committed to embedding the transformation vision of the Division of Child Protection into concrete policies and practices to create a strong child welfare system. the child and the family. Some achievements include:

  • Obtain federal approval from the Oregon Family First Prevention Services Planwith phased demonstration in three different areas starting in 2022. This will strengthen and help families reduce the number of children in foster care and is the first major federal modernization of the child welfare system in 30 years .
  • Implement the Oregon Indian Child Welfare Act (ORICWA), which codifies the provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), into Oregon law to ensure that Oregon’s child welfare practices best serve tribal families. Additionally, ORICWA recognizes customary adoptions, which are adoptions that align with traditional tribal childrearing practices.
  • To be one of the first states to distribute federal pandemic aid to support eligible children and young adults who have been placed in foster care. This pandemic relief included $1.3 million to more than 300 youth to help pay for college, housing, bills, access to technology and equipment, access to personal care and mental health support, and other important resources.
  • Amplify strategies to prevent child deaths, such as developing a sleep safe guidance for families used by vendors and coordinating with community partners to end the sale of bumpers in Oregon.
  • Join the National Security Partnership collaboration, ensure data sharing and a focus on safety science.
  • Develop a mobile crisis unit to meet the critical needs of foster children with round-the-clock support.
  • Build specific resource family recruitment and retention plans based on the unique needs of each ODHS district.
  • Broaden the evidence base DUNGEON program, to include affinity groups such as Spanish-speaking, LGBTQIA2S+, Native American, and transracial families to support resource families and caregivers.
  • Providing alternative childcare reimbursement during the pandemic to help families access care when daycare centers or schools were closed.
  • Launch of a public data dashboard on Oregon’s performance on federal child welfare outcomes to increase transparency.
  • Integrating Books All About Me for children placed in foster care in the process, the first child protection court in the country to do so. These books are a way to help each child in care understand that their story, perspective, culture and identity are important.
  • Take action to reduce structural racism within the Division of Child Protection by making changes to rules and practices to reduce surveillance of families of color, empower communities, and address structural biases in decision making. These steps include:
    • Review of 27 policies using a racial equity impact assessment tool to assess the unintended consequences of policies that contribute to the marginalization of communities of color.
    • No longer require care providers to report new mothers who test positive for substance use after childbirth to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline. Medical providers are encouraged to instead use their training and expertise to identify and report any safety concerns.
    • Reduce requirements for parents to be eligible for gas vouchers.
    • Include biological families and tribal nations in the decision-making process when making decisions about vaccinating foster children.
    • Expanded training focused on equity and service delivery:
      • Approximately 2,600 or 78% of child protection staff have completed equity-focused training.
      • Approximately 2,800, or 84% of child protection staff, have completed training on the Americans with Disabilities Act and integrating its protections into child protection practice.

How to Support Children and Families in Oregon

Support Oregon’s children and families by become a resource (foster) parent for foster children.

The MyNeighbOR program helps meet the basic needs of children, families and young adults affected by foster care. Learn to support.

There are many resources and supports available in our communities to help children and families meet their needs. Sometimes the best way to support the well-being of children and families is to help connect them to the resources they need:

The local community supports

  • Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211 to connect to local food, housing, child care and other supports in your community.
  • Find a pantry: foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org

Mental and Behavioral Health Supports in Oregon

Oregon Department of Social Services Programs and Support

About the ODHS Child Protection Division

The Oregon Department of Social Services, Division of Child Welfare, is committed to transforming to better meet the individual needs of families and to better serve Oregon’s children and youth. Read the Child Protection Division’s transformation vision to learn more.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll-free number allows you to report child or adult abuse to the Oregon Department of Social Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

About Antoine L. Cassell

Check Also

Caroline Flack’s mother Christine says TV presenters need ‘better duty of care’

Caroline Flack’s mother said TV presenters needed improvements in ‘duty of care’ because of the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.