(Salem) – Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed May 2021 to be Foster Care Month in Oregon.
The theme this year is “Foster Care can Strengthen the Whole Family.”
Foster Care Month is a time to recognize how foster care supports and strengthens families, to honor the experiences of the children and young people in foster care, and to show gratitude for the contribution that resource families make to the well-being and safety of children and families throughout Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, believes that foster care should always be the last possible and temporary option for a child and family when there is a child safety concern. The trauma inflicted on a family by separating them during foster care needs to be carefully considered. If foster care is necessary, reunification should be the primary goal.
In Oregon, there are 5,975 children in foster care and thousands of resource families who step up to support them and their families.
Resource families, formerly called foster families or foster parents in Oregon, are affirming and supportive to both the child and their family. Resource families ensure cultural and community connections for children and young adults. They work hard to partner with families to offset the tremendous grief and loss children and young adults experiencing foster care may have. They are partners in achieving the best possible outcomes for families while providing for the safety, health and well-being of the children and young people they’re committed to caring for in their home. Resource families in Oregon support family preservation and reunification whenever possible and are also available to provide a permanent and supportive home when needed.
“This month we recognize the lived experiences of the children and families touched by the foster care system,” said Child Welfare Director Rebecca Jones Gaston. “We know that it is traumatic for a child to enter foster care and to a parent when their child enters foster care. Foster care is intended to be a temporary intervention and not a replacement or punishment for parents. We are incredibly grateful for and appreciate the resource families that have stepped up throughout Oregon to care for and support the children, young people and families who are in crisis.”
To learn more about becoming a resource parent, contact Every Child at EveryChildOregon.org. The Division partners with Every Child to recruit resource families and support children and families impacted by foster care.
“We are committed to supporting the children and young people in foster care with resource families who support connections to their family, culture and community,” said Director Jones Gaston. “That is why we are asking Oregonians statewide to consider stepping up to become a resource family to care for and support the children, young people and families in their community.”
For those looking for other ways to support the children and families in their communities, Every Child’s MyNeighbOR program is another way to help meet the essential needs of children, families, and young adults impacted by foster care. Learn how to provide support at EveryChildOregon.org.
To learn more about foster care in Oregon visit the Department website.