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About us


Mother, father and baby

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is Oregon’s principal agency for helping Oregonians achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.


87% of the DHS budget is spent directly in Oregon communities by providing direct services to more than 1 million Oregonians each year. These services provide a key safety net for those in our society who are most vulnerable or who are at a difficult place in their life. During 2010 DHS provided:

  • Grandmother and granddaughter gardening
  • Food benefits helping 945,926 people buy food and avoid hunger with foods such as, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains needed for good health.
  • Helped 690,613 low-income Oregonians with medical coverage through an eligibility determination process.
  • Helped stabilize 45,523 low-income families with cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families federal program (TANF).
  • Helped over 27,700 seniors and people with physical disabilities with activities of daily living.
  • Adult and Child protective services kept 11,188 children and 20,000 adults safe.
  • Adoption services found permanent, safe homes for 781 children.
  • Domestic violence services helped 8,750 victims address safety concerns.

As Oregon unemployment figures remain over 10% with county unemployment rates in December 2010 ranging from 6.8% to 18.5%, demand for temporary economic help such as cash and food assistance has hit record levels.

Here are some examples for the time period 10/2008 to 10/2010:

  • 51% increase for food benefits statewide
  • 39% increase for temporary cash assistance for needy families statewide
  • 12% increase for individuals with developmental disabilities needing supportive and comprehensive services.


The 1971 Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Department of Human Resources, an agency providing a spectrum of human services to individuals, families and communities.

Caregiver assisting disabled man
Over the years parts of the agency were spun off, becoming the Oregon Department of Corrections, Oregon Employment Department, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services.

The 2001 Oregon Legislature reorganized the department and changed its name to the Oregon Department of Human Services. In 2009 the Oregon Legislature transferred many of the health related functions to the newly created Oregon Health Authority. Today, the Department of Human Services key functions serve children, adults and families and seniors and people with disabilities.


Mission, Vision and Goals


Key Performance Measures