Children

Oregon Child Welfare resources during COVID-19 pandemic

The DHS Child Welfare Program will continue to operate the 24/7 statewide Child Abuse hotline, respond to reports of abuse and neglect, and work with community partners to maintain support to families.

Report suspected abuse or neglect by calling the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).


Abuse prevention

During this time of social distancing, the DHS Child Welfare Program encourages Oregonians to check in with families and continue to engage with child welfare when appropriate.

The COVID-19 pandemic creates many challenges for families, which could impact child safety, including:

  • Lack of access to medical care
  • Lack of face time with mandated reporters
  • Limited access to regular meals due to school closures
  • Known exposure to COVID-19 or symptomatic people
  • Close contact with someone who is considered high risk if infected with COVID-19

DHS encourages community members to check in with at-risk families -- including young children, children and adults with developmental delays or other medical vulnerabilities, isolated children and families, and youth and families with severe emotional/mental health needs – through phone, email, or by safe distance.

Not sure how to check on your neighbors? These questions will help you ask about family well being​.

Sharing resource information for food banks, unemployment benefits, SNAP availability, and educational resources can be extremely helpful. 

  • 211info.org (also by dialing 211) offers connection to local and regional resources for food banks, housing assistance, and mental health services.

  • Lines for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to substance abuse and suicide prevention: 1-800-273-8255 or text '273Talk' to 839863.

Casework guidance

A recent policy transmittal (#CW-AR-20-004) has raised concerns among stakeholders and community members. We want to be very clear: DHS Child Welfare in Oregon does not identify a parent’s medical condition as a safety threat and sole reason for removal of children. We do have the capability, within our current rule and procedure, to work with a legal parent/guardian on a voluntary basis, to make a temporary plan for their child(ren) if they are too ill to care for their children. We would explore all options with a parent/guardian in that circumstance including their friends, family and community resources. If we exhausted all options, we could place their child in foster care. This would be a voluntary placement that does not affect a parent’s custodial rights and does not involve the child dependency legal system.


The transmittal was intended to provide guidance to our staff on how to document this scenario in the case management system, should it occur, if the parent is ill due to COVID-19.

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​​Judging child safety and wellbeing for mandatory reporters​

The Covid-19 Family Wellbeing  Assessmen​t is a conversation guide provided by DHS/Child Welfare for education staff and community partners to use when interacting with children and caregivers during the Covid-19 related school closures. When it is not possible to see children and caregivers in person, phone calls or quick interactions during food distribution may be the only opportunity to assess whether children are safe. Responses to questions, the tone of an interaction, or an inability to make contact with a child or caregiver, may reveal stressors or circumstances that require a report to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline (ORCAH).

The Oregon Child Abuse Hotline is still open 24/7 to accept reports of suspected abuse or neglect by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

​ ​​​​​​Partner organizations and additional resources​

ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice answer questions on Child Welfare and COVID-19
Center for Adoption Support and Education
  • C.A.S.E. offers mental health services and educational resources for all members of the adoption and foster community. Visit the C.A.S.E. Website to learn more.

Child Trends
  • Child Trends' mission is to improve the lives and prospects of children and youth by conducting high-quality research and sharing the resulting knowledge with practitioners and policymakers. For more information visit the Child Trends website

Child Welfare Information Gateway
  • A service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides access to print and electronic publications, websites, databases, and online learning tools for improving child welfare practice. Vist the Child Welfare Information Gateway website for more information.
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How to use Cloth Face Coverings
  • CDC Guidance on using face coverings including how to make them. 

LA County DCFS COVID-19 Updates

My NeighbOR
  • Every Child, in direct partnership with DHS is launching a comprehensive statewide emergency response to the fast-growing needs of children and families in Oregon's foster care system. Learn more by visiting the My NeighbOR​ website.

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
  • NCWWI 's purpose is to develop and support a child welfare workforce that can equitably meet the needs of the most vulnerable children and families.

National Council on Crime and Delinquency
  • During COVID-19 and physical distancing, NCCD will be providing practical guidance for navigating rapidly changing challenges faced by child welfare and justice agencies. Check back frequently for additional resources.

OHA COVID-19 Updates

Oklahoma Human Services

Oregon Foster Youth Connection
  • Empowers current and former foster youth to share their voice and to be heard in k​ey decisions affecting children and youth in foster care. Visit the COVID-19​ Foster Youth Resource page to learn more.

Oregon State Police Emergency Declaration

Social Equity Considerations in a Time of Pandemic

Tribal Information Exchange
  • The Capacity Building Center for Tribes works to design and deliver tools and resources for tribal child welfare professionals. To learn more visit the Tribal Information Exchange website.

U.S Department of Education
Utah DCFS Reference Guide

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​​Supporting foster children and families

My NeighbOR - Every Child, in direct partnership with DHS Child Welfare, has launched a comprehensive statewide emergency response to the fast-growing needs of children and families in Oregon’s foster care system. The initiative is called My NeighbOR. Oregonians across all 36 counties are being asked to step forward and meet the tangible needs of foster families and youth in foster care.

All children in DHS foster care are eligible for Free and Reduced meals. This eligibility automatically happens through a data sharing agreement so foster parents wouldn't have signed up or applied for these resources. Please refer to your school district website to see the sites where meals can be picked up.
KEEP services are still available for foster and relative caregivers! All in-person KEEP groups are moving to a virtual format on the Zoom platform. We are working with our KEEP partners across the state to prepare their teams for this transition and expect online KEEP groups to be up and running in just a couple weeks. We are currently enrolling for upcoming groups!

  • ​If you’ve recently been contacted by a KEEP recruiter and offered a chance to enroll in an in-person KEEP group, or you have already enrolled in a group that hasn’t yet started, you’ll be contacted soon with information about participating in the group online.
  • Foster parents already participating in virtual groups via the Tele-KEEP program will see no changes to their services.

 For more information visit the KEEP website​.

Supporting former youth in care

The Youth Transitions Team is partnering with the Higher Education Coordination Commission and each of the postsecondary institutions across the state to ensure students with a history of foster care are being supported.  Something foster parents/caregivers may want to consider is reaching out to a former foster youth who is in college to see how they are doing.  Should they be in a dorm, and the school closes the dorms, are you able to help the youth problem solve where they may want to go.  You can direct the young person to our team at ILP.Central@state.or.us, check our Facebook Page (Oregon ILP) periodically for updates on resource or tips during this time of social distancing, or check the ILP website.​​​

​​Visitation

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Child Abuse Hotline

Report suspected child abuse or neglect at 1-855-503-(SAFE)7233.

Communicating with DHS Child Welfare

Please contact your local branch or your caseworker if you have issues which arise.

Other Resources and Support



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