In March 2018, Gov. Kate Brown requested a monthly progress report on Child Welfare. In April 2019, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 19-03 which created a Child Welfare Oversight Board to assist her in making and implementing recommendations to improve Oregon’s system for supporting safe children and thriving families. The report is published monthly and was revised in June 2020 to share progress on the directives from the Governor and the Child Welfare Oversight Board.
This Month in Child Welfare
Over the last few weeks, our country has been in an awakening of how racism is still embedded in our lives, reflecting implicit and explicit bias, system design, and cultural norms. Our hearts have been heavy to see the pain, injustice, and fear that continues to exist. We recognize that racism impacts our workforce, the children and families we serve, and our communities. We recognize racial disproportionality in our child welfare system as we see a higher number of abuse-related calls on families of color, even though research shows that abuse occurs at even rates across all communities. We recognize that child welfare systems across the country have a higher number of children of color in foster care than are representative of the population. We understand change starts with each of us, and in the work we do every day.
We envision the future of our Child Welfare system as one part of the backbone for a healthy, safe and vibrant community, where racism is recognized and eliminated.
The Draft Vision for a Transformation of Child Welfare is centered on the values we see moving forward. This Vision provides a basic blueprint for the way a transformed system focused on family would look, how to make it happen, and what it would mean for children, families, partners, and staff. Starting this month, you will see this report structured to align with the vision's core components, Supporting Families and Promoting Prevention, Enhancing our Staff and Infrastructure, and Utilizing Data with Continuous Quality Improvement Systems.
Strengthening a system response to the needs of communities takes communication, collaboration, and trust, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to do so in Oregon. Our families and children deserve no less.
Rebecca Jones Gaston, MSW
Director, Oregon Child Welfare