Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED

Governor Kate Brown
SB1 Signing Remarks
September 23, 2019

Good morning everyone!

I’m just delighted to be here today to sign a bill that I hold near and dear to my heart: Senate Bill 1.
 
We all know that too many Oregon children and youth are falling through the cracks. Since I have become Governor, I have heard time and again from health care providers, families, and youth across the state that Oregon does not provide enough support and resources for children and youth with specialized needs. 

These are kids with chronic behavioral, emotional, physical, or developmental conditions. Many of them have faced trauma early in their lives, and have not had a stable family structure to support them. 

And all too often, they end up being shuffled around the system in settings that are not conducive to healing. 

Some were living in hotels or sleeping in detention centers. Some kids are forced to spend weeks at a time in emergency rooms. And some are sent for treatment hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away.
 
There are many programs and sectors that serve these children and youth -- but there is lack of cross-sector coordination, cultural responsiveness, and focus on prevention. As a result, many of these kids, unfortunately, are in crisis.

Some of you may know that long before becoming your governor I was a lawyer who often represented children in our foster care system. I’ve seen some of these situations play out, and it is heartbreaking. But now I have the opportunity to play an important role in doing something about it.

SB 1 passed thanks to the hard work of Senator Gelser, Senate President Courtney and Chief Justice Walters. It was the only bill this session that all three branches of government worked on. And of course, OHA and DHS for their incredible work.

As well, I want to recognize the dedicated attention and over 18 months of work by the Children and Youth with Specialized Needs Workgroup. 

Amazing job. Your ability to look beyond your own organizations and focus on system-wide changes that will best support our Oregon children and youth restores my faith in collaboration.

And because of SB1 and my latest executive order, over half of the children sent to out of state care facilities are back in Oregon.

With the help of the Oregon legislature OHA & DHS are able to invest a combined $38.67 million for:

A statewide System of Care Advisory Council
Interdisciplinary teams to assess the whole child 
Services for Youth with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
Intensive In-Home Behavioral Health Treatment
Crisis, Transition, & Treatment Services
School Based Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
Family First Prevention Services Act Implementation

So now it’s time to get to work. 

The Corvallis Boys and Girls Club--and other great organizations just like it--showcase what we want for all Oregon children: a developmentally appropriate place to play, learn, and receive help from caring adults.

Investments in systems like these are one step of many toward a more equitable and accessible Oregon. We’re counting on you and the work you do every single day to continue this great legacy.

Because Oregon children and youth are a cause worth investing in. 

Thank you. And let’s sign the bill!