Oregon's Foster Care System: Improving, But Still A Ways To Go
This week on Oregon On The Record, we discussed the foster care system in Oregon and learned about an organization whose entire role is to place volunteers with children in need of help navigating this large, and sometimes overburdened bureaucracy.
The foster care system in our state can be described as a good news/bad news story. The good news is that the number of kids who have no better alternative than to live with foster parents is down significantly from its high of just a few years ago. The bad news is that there still are thousands of children in our state that need to be removed from families for a host of heartbreaking reasons.
Into this situation comes Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, which advocates for kids who come from dire circumstances, and helps them move toward the best possible outcomes. They do a tremendous amount of good, but they are always struggling for money as they are an unfunded mandate from the state.
We heard from CASA leadership including Jenna App and Kendra Jones of the state CASA Network and Lane County CASA; Chris Cunningham a longtime CASA volunteer; First Moon Venecia, a former foster child, helped by CASA and Chuck Nyby the Lane County Program Manager for the Department of Human Services.
There is considerable hope that our foster system continues to improve, but resources and manpower remain a difficult hurdle.