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Oregon meets goals for national measures of safety and permanency



From: Erinn Kelley-Siel, Director, Children, Adults and Families Division


To: Oregon legislators


We are in a challenging time as a state with our budget and the resulting consequences for all Oregonians, including the very vulnerable children and families the Department of Human Services child welfare staff serve. As you know, every day child welfare staff make life and death decisions on behalf of children across the state. We are committed to transparency and accountability as a system. Often, however, our failures make the news, and not our successes. Which is why even in the midst of this time of great challenge, I want to pass on some very good news that has resulted from the excellent work of child welfare staff and managers in each and every branch across the state.


Many of you remember the negative findings from the 2007 federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) we received, and many of you are also aware of our Program Improvement Plan (PIP) to address those challenges - and improve the safety of children in Oregon.


I am proud to report that Oregon has now met all six of our goals for the national measures for safety and permanency set out in our PIP, and six of nine* item-specific goals.


We have come a long way since that 2007 CFSR - and although we still have work to do, it's important to note that as our state works to safely and equitably reduce the number of kids who are in foster care, we are also bettering the lives of those children and families. Marie Jamieson with the federal Administration of Children and Families said: "We commend the progress Oregon has made in improving outcomes and making systemic practice changes in the child welfare system."


In addition to the PIP results below, we have also made progress in the following areas:

  • 10% fewer children spent time in foster care last year than in 2008;
  • The percentage of children who were re-abused declined by 39%, showing that child welfare safety decisions about the risks to children are getting stronger;
  • The number of children abused in foster care was reduced by 32%;
  • 16% fewer children who left foster care had to come back into care, remaining safely at home with their families; and
  • 15% more children coming into foster care are immediately placed with their relatives today than in 2008, Oregon's highest level in nearly a decade.


Here is a summary of the specific PIP-related child welfare system improvement data for your review.


Absence of recurrence of maltreatment -- Of all children who were victims of a founded allegation of abuse/neglect during the first 6 months of the year, fewer had also been victims within the previous 6 months.

  • 2007 CFSR 90.2 %
  • National Standard 94.6 %; PIP Goal 93.1 %
  • Oregon Today 93.5 %


Absence of maltreatment of children in foster care -- Fewer children are being abused/neglected in foster care.

  • 2007 CFSR 99.35 %
  • National Standard 99.68%; PIP Goal 99.16%
  • Oregon Today 99.59%


Timeliness and permanency of reunification -- More children are returning sooner and safely to their parents.

  • 2007 CFSR 118.5
  • National Standard 122.6; PIP Goal 121.4
  • Oregon Today 125.7


Timeliness of adoptions -- More children who are free to be adopted are being adopted sooner.

  • 2007 CFSR 96.4
  • National Standard 106.4 (composite scores); PIP Goal 100.8
  • Oregon Today 104.9


Achieving permanency for child in long-term foster care -- Oregon's efforts to have kids who've been care too long be adopted are paying off. For example, Multnomah County recently moved 200 kids who were in "long term foster care" into plans of adoption or guardianship, or reunited them with their families.

  • 2007 CFSR 107.8
  • National Standard 121.7 (composite scores); PIP Goal 106.8
  • Oregon Today 109.6


Placement stability -- The number of children with two or fewer placements has improved.

  • 2007 CFSR 96.7
  • National Standard 101.5 (composite scores); PIP Goal 98.9
  • Oregon Today 99.4


These are just a few of the statistics that point to a safer and improving child welfare system in Oregon. As a legislator, you play a critical role in our improvement effort and our successes. I thank you for the hard work you are doing to lead and prioritize during this time of fiscal challenge. If you have questions or would like additional information about Oregon's child welfare system, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Additional Background Information:

*The other item-specific goals are: other planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA); services to families to protect children in the home and prevent removal or re-entry into foster care; and timeliness to CPS response. Our PIP covered the following four areas: first, workforce development; second, safety; third, permanency planning; and fourth, resources. In addition, we identified three initiatives that crossed all areas to improve outcomes for children and families served by the child welfare system: first, the statewide implementation of the Oregon Safety Model; second, improved Clinical Supervision; and third, improved family engagement between caseworkers and families.In addition to the PIP activities, we are actively advancing several other strategies that will improve outcomes for children and their families, especially the work of the disproportionality task force that will develop recommendations for improvements; improving placement stability by enhancing our work with relatives and individuals known to children and their families; and engaging the support of community partners in our effort to safely reduce the number of children in foster care. View more information on the PIP.


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