Snapshot of Oregon’s foster care system

We reference lots of numbers and studies in this lawsuit.  We want to make sure that you understand where we got this information.

Prominence of Disabilities in the Foster Care Population

Oregon does not have completely accurate data on how many children in the foster care system have disabilities.  But despite the challenges of obtaining accurate information about youth with disabilities in foster care, certain information about this population has been collected. For example, one study has determined that between 20 and 60 percent of children entering foster care have developmental disabilities or delays.

Foster care alumni studies have also found patterns. The Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study (Pecora et al., 2003) found that more than half of alumni studied had mental health diagnosis.  Of those studied, 25 percent experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), compared with 4 percent of the general population, and 20 percent experienced major depression, compared with about 10 percent of the general population.

Regarding physical disabilities, one California study found that 8 percent of foster youth studied had some type of physical disability, compared with between 1 and 2 percent of the general youth population.

Number of Foster Care Placements

The total number of foster care placements reported by DHS in January 2018 was 4072.

The Rising Number of Out-of-State Placements

86 children were placed out of state as of the March 2019 report to the governor.

Inadequate Number of Foster Care Staff and Related Time with Children

According to recent estimates by DHS’s independent evaluator, the state needs “an estimated 950 additional permanency workers” to staff services for youth in foster care up to the desired level.

  • DHS’s independent review indicated that case workers spend on average “1.02 hours per month spent with each child” per month.

  • DHS has documented that the out-of-state placements have been rising since at least early 2017.

Are DHS’s Method’s Making Children Safer?

No: about 9.6% of children were re-victimized by abuse or neglect within 12 months of a founded report of abuse or neglect in the second quarter of 2017. Throughout 2018 that level rose to almost 12%. (final chart); (p.6).

General Resources Assessing Oregon’s Foster Care System