DHS Director's Message
Message from DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht
December 5, 2018
Back in September I let you know we had started developing the next budget for the agency. It is my privilege and responsibility to advocate on your behalf to secure the resources needed to create reasonable workloads and better outcomes for Oregonians. It also is my job to keep you informed along the way.
I wanted to share that Governor Kate Brown released her budget proposal for the 2019-21 biennium called, "Turning Point: An Agenda for Oregon’s Future." The Governor’s budget proposal represents her priorities for the operation of state government and her policy agenda for the next two years. It also includes her recommendation for our next budget.
The release of the proposal, known as the Governor’s Recommended Budget (GRB), is the second of many steps for creating the budget. The first step was taken in September when we sent our Agency Request Budget (ARB) to the Governor. The Governor then reviewed our ARB and weighed it against her priorities, budget policies and law to create her own budget proposal.
Securing a promising future for the next generation of Oregonians is the inspiration behind the Governor’s budget proposal. Investment priorities for health and human services agencies include:
- Advancing the Coordinated Care Model
- Supporting healthy children and families
- Sustainably funding health care
- Protecting Oregon’s children
- Helping families reach self-sufficiency
- Investing in services for seniors
- Serving individuals with disabilities in the community
The Governor’s budget recommendation for DHS supports our request for investments to stabilize our organization and strengthen its foundation so it can support the seamless, integrated delivery system we’re working towards. The GRB also suggests investments that support her policy agenda for Oregon.
Details about the proposed investments in DHS can be found in the 491-page GRB. Some highlights include:
- Full funding of the agency programs caseloads and costs per case to enable us to continue providing the same level of services in the next biennium as we do today.
- New positions to improve safety for children. This includes 270 Child Welfare positions, primarily for the field. Positions also were proposed for the new, centralized Oregon Child Abuse Hotline and to form a foster parent recruitment and retention team.
- New positions to improve safety for adults by adding 25 surveyor positions in Aging and People with Disabilities (APD).
- Eleven positions for the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services to expand supports for children with significant needs and funding for the Vocational Rehabilitation pre-employment transition services program, including three positions.
- Rate increases for APD providers including Adult Foster Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Residential Care Facilities, Providence Elder Place, and In-Home Agencies.
- Enhanced funding for Employment Related Day Care and for education for parents participating in the food and cash assistance programs in the Self-Sufficiency Program.
It’s important for us to understand that the highlighted investments and all others in the GRB are only proposals. Budget development is a long process that sees much change before it is finished. The state must have a balanced budget so we also can expect to take reductions in some places to fund current needs and priorities.
The next step is for the GRB to be presented to the Oregon State Legislature beginning in January. The Legislature will hold hearings and ultimately approve a budget bill for each state agency called the Legislatively Adopted Budget (LAB). The LAB will be approved in late June or early July and will fund us through the 2019-21 biennium.
As we go through the budget process there will be discussion, debate and sometimes rumors. Nothing will be final until the Legislature approves a budget in summer. We’ll keep you updated as we reach milestones in the process.
Our budget is an investment in you and the people we serve. I deeply appreciate your dedication and daily contributions, and am proud to represent you in this process.