Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today issued an executive order that establishes the Child Welfare Oversight Board to advise her direction to the Department of Human Services (DHS) so it can more effectively address Oregon’s child welfare crisis.
“Oregon’s child welfare system is overburdened to the point where I have serious concerns about the state’s ability to sufficiently serve our most vulnerable children,” said Governor Brown. “While DHS is working on long-term solutions to right-size the foster care system, there needs to be immediate action to protect children in care today. That’s why today I am establishing a Child Welfare Oversight Board and bringing in additional resources and expertise.”
Executive Order 19-03
establishes the board and outlines its areas of focus. The Governor will also deploy a crisis management team to implement the Board’s recommendations and embed a senior member of the Governor’s Office staff at DHS to ensure directives are implemented.
The Board will advise Governor Brown on issues including:
• Out-of-state foster child placements, including assessing each child that is being housed out of state and finding a placement in Oregon.
• Building system capacity, including therapeutic foster care, general foster care, and services for children with specialized needs.
• Addressing agency operational challenges, such as public records and communications, hiring, and human resources.
Governor Brown is also directing DHS and the Child Welfare Program to use their authority to suspend or amend any agency policies or rules that make it difficult to address challenges in the child welfare system. This could include policies or rules related to hiring or contracting.
“Oregon’s challenges in foster care have been long-standing, and our children and families deserve better,” said Governor Brown. “We need to mobilize quickly if we want to improve the lives of those in Oregon’s foster care system.
“I also want to be clear that the child welfare system belongs to all of us as Oregonians, not just DHS or state government. Part of the reform in child welfare is engaging communities in being part of the solution."
DHS partners with Every Child Oregon to connect community members with volunteer opportunities to help children and families. To learn how you can help, click here