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
As we close out this year, I want to thank our partners, our leaders, and the Governor’s office for their continued support and assistance as we continue the transformation of Oregon’s Child Welfare system. While 2020 showcased multiple challenges, we had some key achievements to note, such as continuing to have zero children in out of state placements, increasing the number of qualified and professional caseworkers through a hiring surge, having the lowest number of children enter care in over 14 years, bridging gaps with our Oregon Tribal Nations through the passage of the Oregon ICWA legislation, and infusing training and communication on diversity and equity through all of our work. There are many more areas to highlight, but these are a snapshot to remind us of the greater role our work has in strengthening Oregon’s promise to create thriving communities.
I want to express my deep gratitude to the Governor’s inclusion of Child Welfare priorities in her Recommended Budget. The proposal shows confidence in the work we are doing and a continued dedication to provide the necessary resources to implement future improvements in Child Welfare. We are very grateful to see continued support for the Child Welfare Division and funding for strategic investments to help support families and children during and beyond this challenging and uncertain time.
I am pleased to have received positive community feedback for the Oregon Child Welfare Division Vision for Transformation since it was rolled out last month. This Vision is a roadmap and compass to improve the Child Welfare Division. Partnerships and collaboration will drive our successful transformation, and the connections and investments will pave the way for that success, benefitting Oregon’s children and families.
Rebecca Jones Gaston, MSW
Director, Oregon Child Welfare