I am writing to recognize the efforts of our community on behalf of children in foster care in Clatsop County. I recently attended the annual CASA fund raiser at the Bridgewater Bistro. I am familiar with the indispensable roll played by the CASA Volunteers, due to my 24 years representing both parents and children in the juvenile dependency system. CASA volunteers advocate with dedication and love for these children who must endure separation from parents siblings for long periods of time. Judges and attorneys alike are grateful for the help provided by CASA. That said, I would be remiss if I did not raise up the social workers and support staff at the Oregon Department of Human Services, Astoria Branch for their efforts as well. We appreciate the selfless and compassionate efforts of these state workers. That said, an audit by the Oregon Secretary Of State’s office flagged significant problems with the Foster Care program. There 11,000 children in foster care in 2017. This report pointed out three area of primary concern:
1. “Chronic management shortcomings.”
2. Chronic understaffing, burnout and high turnover.
3. . Too few foster placements, and struggles to retain existing foster home and foster parents. If we are to invest in our children’s future and avoid more costly solutions to children who are abused and neglected, changes need to be made. Legislative oversight is critical, and increased funding ought be considered. If elected as your State Representative, I will dedicate myself to making changes to address this unfortunate foster care problem.
John F. Orr