Oregon Department of Home Services

Oregon looks at foster care neglect; abuse rates twice the national average

Two recent cases of maltreatment have prompted Oregon officials to initiate the state's first ever study of how children in foster care are neglected or abused, reports Ruth Liao of the Statesman Journal.

A team of law enforcement agents, youth organizations and foster care programs have been asked by the Oregon Department of Home Services to find ways to prevent abuse of agency children. The review process includes randomly sampling foster families who have served at least five years, as well as reviewing cases of foster care abuse that were previously closed.

Reports from the state's Critical Incident Response Team, which detailed the sexual abuse of one adoptive child, as well as the neglect of six medically fragile infants, led DHS officials to call for such an investigation. Some beleive that Oregon's child-welfare policies have long needed an overhaul, a state where the rate of foster child abuse is double the national average, said Carol Jones, president of the National Foster Parent Association.

-- Natasha Walker