Democrat Herald – Olson: State needs foster homes

From the Albany Democrat Herald:

Oregon has approximately 21,000 children who need placement in foster homes, but only 1,800 foster homes, said state Rep. Andy Olson, during a community meeting in downtown Albany on Thursday night.

“You can see the problem there,” he added.

The meeting, held at the Flinn Block Hall, was focused on problems in the foster care system, and about 40 people attended.

Olson urged residents to recruit potential foster parents who could provide loving homes for children.

Wendy Brownell, former president of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Linn County, wondered why people were no longer interested in being foster parents.

Chaundra Carter of Albany, a former foster parent, said that families are being scared away because of false allegations and the Oregon Department of Human Services’ harsh response to those claims.

“People are petrified, because anyone can say anything about you as a foster parent and you’re guilty, end of discussion,” said Rich Ransom of Albany, who was a foster parent for 16 years.

Ransom added that he’s considering becoming a foster parent again, but there needed to be changes to the system first.

Olson said that work was being done to identify standards for how a DHS investigation would be concluded.

Duane Stark, a state representative from southern Oregon and a foster parent, told residents to speak up if they see something that’s broken with the system — and especially if they have potential solutions.

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