Children in Foster Care Need Swift Access to Mental Health Care

A recent OPB report about Oregon’s foster care system shed light on the extraordinary actions of child welfare officials within the Oregon Department of Human Services. The state agency not only sent hundreds of children in our foster care system to out-of-state facilities run by a private, for-profit company, but it also ceded any responsibility for them as well. Oregon child welfare officials’ lack of oversight, lack of scrutiny, and lack of even basic tracking of the children placed in those facilities and their well-being are astonishing.

But we should recognize this failure for what it truly is: a symptom of the state’s larger failure to meet the developmental, behavioral and mental health needs of children in its care.

By moving children to facilities outside of Oregon, the state shielded itself, for a time, from its inability to provide these children the services and supports they need to thrive. The state paid these companies, primarily one named Sequel, tens of thousands of dollars per child per month, handing over the keys to these children’s futures with little or no assurance that these companies were capable of caring for them.

Opinion piece from OregonLive:

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