02-19-2017  1:17 pm      •     

It could well signal a sea-change in Oregon's troubled foster care program for children.

Responding to dismal statistics – and heartbreaking personal stories of broken families – the Oregon Department of Human Services is launching a major initiative to reduce the number of children in foster care statewide.

Using an advertising campaign and a website of volunteer opportunities, DHS officials announced in December a "call to action" they hope will move the state out of its foster care "crisis."

"We know we can do better at safely keeping children at home or with a relative," the agency's website says. "We have relied too much on foster care as our primary option for protecting children."

Raise Me Up's new Facebook page includes links to media coverage, volunteer events and training opportunities around Oregon, all focusing on reducing the number of kids in foster care.

One recent posting is a commentary called, "Even the Best Foster Homes Can't Replace Family Support."

The initiative comes after the DHS moved to restructure its top leadership in 2009, bringing in former state Sen. Margaret Carter as a deputy director and Tina Edlund as deputy director of the Oregon Health Authority for planning and policy implementation.

Carter, in particular, was brought on to shake up the system.

"She will also help lead the important work we are doing to protect and enhance the safety and security of children, seniors and people with disabilities, and to directly address and correct the over-representation of Native American and African American children in our foster care system," Oregon DHS Director Bruce Goldberg wrote in a staff memo about the changes at the time.

The 2009 Casey Family Foundation's annual Status of Children report marked Oregon as the state that removed more children from their homes than any other.

The report that year found 27,485 investigations into alleged mistreatment or neglect, but only 10,421 were verified by state investigators to be abuse or neglect; 40 percent of these children taken into the foster system were adopted out of their homes.

Oregon statistics for years have shown that African American and Native American youth are disproportionately removed from their homes and placed into foster care, even though studies have shown their parents are no more abusive than white parents.

According to the DHS, Oregon's rate of out-of-home placement for children is about 10 percent per 1000 children, compared to the national rate, which is 6 percent.

The Raise Me Up campaign is aimed at piecing together a new network of nonprofit groups, government agencies and media united in the goal of promoting public involvement at many levels of the foster care system – and beyond.

"Oregon has set ambitious goals to safely reduce the number of children in foster care and to ensure that children in the child welfare system are safe, stable and healthy," says DHS spokesman Gene Evans.

In 2009 the DHS Child Welfare division "pledged" to take the following steps of improvement:
• Increase the number of children who remain safely at home after a founded report of neglect;
• Eliminate disproportionate treatment for children of color in foster care, especially African American and Native American children;
• Increase placements and connections with family (relatives) and ensuring ongoing connections with parents and siblings;
• Increase the number of children leaving foster care - either to reunite with parents or to be adopted/have permanent guardianship arrangements;
• Decrease the length of time children spend in foster care;
• Strengthen support for out-of-home caregivers;
• Ensure that children in foster care receive timely, appropriate medical services and mental health assessments;
• Make Oregon a national leader for the absence of abuse in out-of-home care;
• Increase the number of foster care homes/placements available.

The bureau's Raise Me Up announcement lists the same goals for 2012.
"Community engagement and strong community partnerships are essential components of this Raise Me Up campaign," said Iris Bell, interim transition director of the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, in a statement. "It takes all of us working together -- neighbor helping neighbor -- to ensure our children are being raised with compassion in the safe, nurturing environments they deserve."

Raise Me Up ads are build around statistics showing that children raise in foster care have a 25 percent chance of becoming homeless by age 18; have twice the rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as Gulf War veterans; and "…could become like 270,000 prisoners who were once in foster care."

For more information go to www.raisemeup.oregon.gov 


 or Raise Me Up on Facebook.




RELATED COVERAGE


'Shoulder to Shoulder' Highlights Success, Failures in Foster Care System

Kids Count Data Book Shows More Oregon Families in Poverty

 

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow