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DHS news release

December 13, 2004

 

Program contact: Una Swanson 503) 945-6696

 

Contact: Patricia Feeny (503) 945-6955

 

Clackamas child welfare case focus of Critical Incident Response Team


A 5-year-old Clackamas County girl is the focus of the first use of the state's child welfare Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT).

The CIRT, which is coordinated through the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), was convened on Wednesday in response to the serious injury of a child in foster care.

CIRT, an initiative of the Gov. Theodore Kulongoski, was developed to ensure a more timely and coordinated response when a critical incident of child abuse or neglect occurs and to strengthen the public accountability of the state's child welfare system.

Una Swanson, who is leading the CIRT and is the manager of DHS child protective services, says team members are charged with reviewing the case and examining all case-related policy, training, practice and personnel issues.

"Through the CIRT process we can identify areas that need to be improved, strengthened or corrected," said Swanson. "If there are systems' issues, we can take immediate steps to make changes."

Within 30 days of initiating the CIRT process, the team members must complete their review and write a critical incident report addressing the status of the case and their conclusions. If they identify issues, the CIRT must develop recommendations and communicate those, along with actions steps and progress reports to the public, as appropriate.

The 5-year-old girl had been living with foster parents, who entered DHS as general adoptive applicants. They have provided foster care to five children. The last state certification of their foster home was in March. ​