Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign
Strategic Action Plan
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14.5 Description of Types of Foster Care
* BRS = Child Welfare Behavioral Rehabilitation Services programs; OHA = Oregon Health Authority psychiatric treatment settings
** other types of foster care = developmental disability placements, pre-adoptive placements, and independent living
“The best foster care system is one that is not needed in the first place. My Administration has been focused on prevention strategies that keep children safe while strengthening families so that children do not enter foster care unnecessarily.”
“It is the goal of the United States to promote a child welfare system that reduces the need to place children into foster care; achieves safe permanency for those children who must come into foster care, and does so more quickly and more effectively; places appropriate focus on children who are waiting for adoption, especially those who are 9 years and older, are in sibling groups, or have disabilities; and decreases the proportion of young adults who age out of the foster care system.”
Some of the types of foster care include institution, group home (residential child care community, residential treatment center, etc.), or private home of a state certified caregiver (referred to as a “foster parent”). Formal kinship care is increasingly common. In 2012, a quarter of all children in formal foster care were placed with relatives instead of being placed into the system. The institution, group home or foster parent is provided compensation for expenses.
The information for the above chart is derived from statistics in the 2019 Oregon Data Book. Focusing on the light orange slice in the above chart, only 3% of children in foster care in Oregon are given a “higher level of care,” as described in the 2019 Oregon Data Book:
“Behavioral Rehabilitation Services”
“Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) is a higher level of care that provides the skill development necessary for children with debilitating emotional and behavioral challenges to return home or move to a less intensive level of care and to ultimately achieve permanence.
More than 223 children in care per day receive these important services, including behavioral intervention, counseling and skill-building services in professional assessment and stabilization facilities, therapeutic foster care, and residential placement models. These service programs are administered through contracts with licensed, private child-caring agencies.
On any given day during FFY 2019, BRS served the following:
- 74 children in professional treatment foster homes, and
- 149 children in residential treatment facilities.” [bolding added for emphasis]
“Psychiatric Residential Treatment”
“Children in the state’s custody whose mental health needs exceed or differ from the level or type of services provided by the BRS system may be served within the mental health services system in psychiatric residential placements or other mental health supported placements which are contracted through the Oregon Health Authority and authorized and paid for through Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations.
On any given day, 51 children in care are served in psychiatric residential treatment settings.” [bolding added for emphasis]
A 2005 study of foster children in Oregon and Washington State found that nearly one third reported being abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home.
Action Step 14.5.1: Only 3% of children removed from their home by Oregon’s Child Welfare System are provided a “higher level of care” such as: providing the skill development necessary for children with debilitating emotional and behavioral challenges to succeed, professional treatment foster homes, and mental health services. ALL children who have been sufficiently abused or neglected to be removed from their home need physical treatment for their injuries and mental health services for the child to recover from the trauma before life-long physical changes are made to the child’s brain.
Action Step 14.5.2: Children who have suffered child abuse or neglect need a Temporary Therapeutic Respite Care Home to recover both physically and mentally from their trauma. Institutional care is not appropriate for these children. One-on-one care provided by Temporary Therapeutic Respite Care Homes is needed for the child to fully recover.
 Executive Order on Strengthening the Child Welfare System for America’s Children, June 24, 2020
To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.