Pilot CWS-R-SAP – v. 1 Current CWS, 10. Current Oregon Child Welfare System


Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign

Strategic Action Plan


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10. Current Oregon Child Welfare System


“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”

— Marian Wright Edelman


This Strategic Action Plan proposes a methodology of conducting a Pilot Program of the entire U.S. Child Welfare System Redesign with one state, Oregon. From this Pilot, best practices can be discovered, modifications can be made, and metrics can be measured before and after the Pilot. Documentation of the Pilot will be detailed and inclusive, to provide a Best Practices Model for other states to implement upon the successful completion of the Oregon Pilot.


Oregon was selected for the Pilot primarily due to the “Perfect Storm” of a lawsuit, federal mandates, a massive sequence of turnovers in management and staff, and four recent uncomplimentary audits by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.


While researching the Oregon Child Welfare System process flow, documentation, and data, “missed opportunities” have been identified and presented as Recommendations.


The current Oregon Child Welfare System flow is documented here, to form a baseline against which all pilot redesign efforts can be measured. Metrics are captured from the current CWS operation, to be used as individual benchmarks of success or failure for each step of the Redesign Project.


Why Select Oregon? Why is 2020 THE Time to Take Action?

Right now, at this time, there is a “Perfect Storm” of critical issues facing Oregon’s Child Welfare System:

  • Children’s health and lives are in increased danger due to COVID-19 lockdowns; the threatening environment the children stuck in abusive homes face each day, exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown requirements.


  • The Oregon Child Welfare System is one of few states under the burden of six (6) sets of major technology requirements for modifications (called “Drivers” in this document), from three discrete sources, all converging within the period 2019-2021:


    • Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018: Reforming Foster Care, plus major IT changes, mandated at the federal level, from one system architecture (SACWIS) to another (CCWIS) on an old legacy system


    • Wyatt B v Kate Brown, Case 6:19-cv-00556-AA Document 1 Filed 04/16/19, Case No. 19-556 CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT, from DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE LLP: The focus of this lawsuit is on Oregon’s alleged mishandling of some specific cases in the foster care system.


    • Four Unsatisfactory Audits from the Oregon Secretary of State:


      • Department of Human Services Recommendation Follow-up Report: DHS Has Made Important Improvements, but Extensive Work Remains to Ensure Child Safety, June 2019, Report 2019-24


      • Oregon’s Child Welfare Information System Is Adequate for Case Management, but Enhancements Are Needed to Improve Usability, February 2020, Report 2020-01


      • Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Department of Human Services, and Oregon State Police: Oregon Should Improve Child Safety by Strengthening Child Care Background Checks and the State’s Sex Offender Registry, June 2020, 2020-21


      • Department of Human Services: Oregon Can More Effectively Use Family Services to Limit Foster Care and Keep Children Safely at Home, July 2020, Report 2020-26


    • Limited funding due to COVID-19 expenses at the State level


    • Potential loss of federal funding/reimbursement if required updates are not made


    • Hundreds of remaining fixes from the original 2011 IT installation not yet addressed


    • Overworked and understaffed CWS staff


    • Massive series of turnovers in CWS management and staff


    • Potential IT efficiencies that may assist CWS staff may not be available with even the best upgrades to a 1990s system


    • IT has been mired in its own bug fixes since 2013 and hasn’t had time for CWS staff efficiency or mandated upgrades


    • IT has increased staffing with specialized skills to support solely OR-Kids, but they still are overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the flood of new requirements


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To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.


Jo Calk