Are you a relative or have a strong connection with a child in foster care?
Sometimes you are the exact person a child needs. Your willingness to connect with a relative child is a gift — to the child and to the parents.
When children must enter foster care, Child Welfare's primary goal is to find a relative or someone close to the family to care for them. In line with the
Child Welfare Division Vision for Transformation
, keeping connected to relative and kin help these children retain a sense of belonging and acceptance and preserves culture.
Relative connections are important
- Children know they are loved and have a stronger sense of belonging
- Children are healthier and do better when they know and are in contact with their family
- Family members help preserve a child's culture and history
- Increased connections and supports lead to stability and additional resources
Who is a relative in Oregon?
Oregon's child welfare definition of relative is unique and can be found on page 8 of the
Oregon Child Welfare policy manual
What can I expect from ODHS and what are my rights as a relative?
Grandparents have a right to receive court notice. All relatives have a right to be notified that their relative is in care and opportunity to coordinate meeting with the child or young person. We work with parents to invite relatives to family meetings so they can be informed about the status of the case and how they might be involved in the case plan. More on court notification, family meetings and supporting the safety plan are addressed in the
ODHS Relative Rights Policy 413-010-0310.
How can I help?
Yes, any kind of connection that helps maintain family and cultural ties is beneficial to a child in care. Some ways other relatives have been able to provide support include:
- Supporting safety planning so children can be reunified with their parents
- Grandparents making regular phone calls
- Family camping trips
- Birthday cards
- Cultural events
- Supporting family time with parents
- Family visit/vacation time
- Sharing photos and stories
- Help the child make an All About Me book
- Connecting resource parents with family culture
If I become a caregiver, what kind of supports are available?
Caseworkers spend time with children placed in foster care a minimum of every 30 days. Caseworkers also will have monthly contact with you and visit you in your home every 60 days.
Resource parents receive a monthly check for each child's care expenses. The rate resource parents are reimbursed varies depending on each child's age and level of needs. Children's medical and dental costs are also covered by a state-funded health plan. Learn more on our Payments and Rates page
. Child care assistance is available for working resource parents.
How do I get started?
- If you already have a connection to a child in foster care, please contact the caseworker.
- If you are identified as a relative for a child in care, you should receive a formal notice in the mail with more information on how to stay connected.
- If you haven't established connection, we encourage you to reach out to the primary caseworker or to your local Child Welfare office in the county where the child or young adult resided when they entered foster care.
How does Oregon Child Welfare find relatives?
We talk with parents, kids and known family to identify who their family is. We have search specialists across Oregon who use search engines and social media to locate relatives and help find contact information so we can send formal notice and invite support for the family.