REMARKS AS PREPARED
Foster Care Commission Meeting
June 28, 2017
Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you at the first meeting of this critically important commission. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise to improve the lives of our most vulnerable children.
I know this is a tremendous commitment of yourselves and of your energy, and I understand the emotional toll this kind of work takes. But what I appreciate most is that all of you, like me, will never quit advocating for these kids and families.
I also want to thank the Department of Human Services for being at the table for these important discussions and to Representative Stark and Senator Gelser for their tireless work and support of Oregon’s children.
You have a lot in front of you today, and many decisions to make as you prioritize the commission’s areas of focus.
My request of the commission is that you move forward with a sense of urgency, and make safety the first priority.
Safety is foundational. Until we improve safety for kids, all of our other aspirations will falter. To me, safety means:
• Increasing the number of appropriate and well-trained foster families;
• Doing better initial assessments for kids to ensure that their placements are successful; and
• Providing more training for foster families. We must give them the tools and resources to deal with safety issues as they arise.
I’m confident that many of you around this table have wonderful ideas to take action on these critical issues immediately. I will do everything I can to support this commission as you work together to create better outcomes for Oregon’s children.
Thank you again for your time, your energy, and your passion for these kids.