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DHS news release

Sept. 27, 2006

Program contact: Linda Manning 971-673-1838

Media contact: Patricia Feeny 503-945-6955


State hosts 13th annual Oaks Park day for foster children and families

Hundreds of foster families from Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Polk and Columbia counties are preparing to attend the annual Afternoon at Oaks Park.

The event, hosted by the Oregon Department of Human Services, draws up to 1,800 people, including about 50 DHS volunteers. This year's event is on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Linda Manning, who recently retired from the agency as a foster care recruiter, plans and organizes the event to honor the children, youth and parents in the state's foster care system. It has also become a valuable tool to retain and recruit foster families.

"A foster home provides a child with a safe, temporary haven where a foster parent plays an invaluable role in a child's safe return home or passage to another stable, permanent home," Manning said. "The need for safe, stable homes for children has never been greater."

For the past three years, the number of children coming into foster care is greater than the number of those leaving. A total of 13,290 children were served in family foster care during the 12 months ending Sept 30, 2005; 16,027 children were served in all foster care arrangements. On an average daily basis, there are 7,497 children in family foster care and 10,200 children in all foster care arrangements. Statewide, there are more than 5,373 foster homes with an average of 1.4 children each.

On Saturday, every child receives a ride bracelet that is good for the entire afternoon and T-shirt designed just for this day's event. John Tejada and BC Graphics of Portland provided this year's shirts. Participants also will be treated to a picnic and enjoy music by Tom Farley's Music Party and entertainment by Cosmo The Balloon Wizard.

For more information about becoming a foster parent, call 1-800-331-0503.