SALEM, Ore. (CN) – Two days after a scathing lawsuit accused Oregon Gov. Kate Brown of running a dangerous and inept foster care system, Brown issued an executive order implementing changes she said would “bring in additional resources and expertise.”
Executive Order 19-03 sets up a Child Welfare Oversight Board and a crisis management team to implement the board’s recommendations. It also calls for a member of Brown’s staff to be “embedded” with the state’s Department of Human Services to make sure that her directives are implemented.
Brown says the board will advise her on bringing Oregon kids who are placed in out-of-state foster care back home. A class action filed Tuesday on behalf of Oregon’s 8,000 foster kids said the state removes kids from their homes at twice the national rate and increasingly places them in out-of-state facilities.
The board will also focus on hiring more staff, offering “therapeutic” foster care and determining how the system should care for kids with special needs.
In a statement announcing the plan, Brown also called for Oregonians to be more involved in fixing the foster care system by volunteering.
“I also want to be clear that the child welfare system belongs to all of us as Oregonians, not just DHS or state government,” Brown said. “Part of the reform in child welfare is engaging communities in being part of the solution.”