Oregon News Feed

Public to get detailed insider view of certain Oregon schools

“Public to get detailed insider view of certain Oregon schools”
April 11, 2014
Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian

When results of a massive survey of Oregon teachers are released late next month, the public will get a detailed look at what really happens inside most of the state’s schools, as reported by the school’s teachers and administrators.

But parents and taxpayers won’t get that kind of peek into Clackamas High, West Linn High, Portland’s Jefferson High and other schools where most teachers did not take part.

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Oregon leading the way in Medicaid enrollment

“Medicaid enrollment jumps by 3 million”
April 4, 2014
Tami Luhby, CNN Money


Children First For Oregon

Three million people have enrolled in Medicaid since October, mainly in states expanding eligibility under Obamacare, according to federal data released Friday.
Some 61 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, in February. That’s up 5.2% since the third quarter of 2013, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Ribbons from courthouse tree represent Oregon’s cases of child abuse

“Ribbons from courthouse tree represent Oregon’s cases of child abuse”
Joce DeWitt, Statesman Journal
March 31, 2014

Alison Kelley estimated about 1,200 cases of child abuse occur in Marion and Polk counties every year.

Kelley, CEO of Liberty House, a child abuse and neglect assessment center in Salem, was one of a group of community leaders who gathered in front of the Marion County Courthouse Monday.

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Report: Too Many OR Children in Long-Term Foster Care

“Report: Too Many OR Children in Long-Term Foster Care”
Chris Thomas, Oregon News Service
March 27, 2014

SALEM, Ore. – The next generation of Oregonians is being challenged by poverty and all its ramifications, according to a new report from Children First for Oregon. Of the 25 indicators of well-being for children summarized in the report, one statistic is that more than one-third of children age nine and older in foster care has been there two years or longer.

Pamela Butler, CFFO child welfare policy manager, says smaller child welfare budgets and higher caseloads have left almost 1,700 children in long-term limbo, when more effort could change that. “Yes, it is an extra workload, but I think it pays off,” she says. “Those outcomes for youth who stay in the system are so bad, it’s time to invest in the kids who are in the system now and find them families – so that when they leave, they have people that care about them and they’re not on their own.”

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23 percent of Oregon children live in poverty, study shows

“23 percent of Oregon children live in poverty, study shows”
Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian
March 26, 2014

About 23 percent of Oregon children live at or below the poverty level, an annual study of child well-being shows.

The rate is a slight decline from the previous year’s 23.6 percent poverty rate in Oregon but above the national average of 22.6 percent, according to the 2014 Progress Report from Children First for Oregon, a Portland child advocacy nonprofit. The study set the poverty level at $23,050 for a family of four, which was the 2012 figure.

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More Oregon children and adults have health insurance, Census Bureau Says

“More Oregon children and adults have health insurance, Portland-area residents most insured, Census Bureau says”
March 13, 2014
Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian

Ninety-three percent of Oregon children had health insurance in 2012, up from 89 percent three years earlier, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

Multnomah County had the highest rate of children with health insurance of any in Oregon: 95 percent of Multnomah residents younger than 19 had insurance, the bureau said. Washington and Clackamas counties also high high rates, with 94 percent and 93 percent of their children insured, the bureau reported.

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OFYC In the News: “Foster Youth Win an Important Victory in Oregon”

March 7, 2014
Simon Davis-Cohen, The Nation

In February of 2013, five members of the Oregon Foster Youth Connection (OFYC) testified before the Senate health and human services committee in defense of Senate Bill 123—mandating the adoption of an Oregon Foster Youth Bill of Rights and the hiring of a state foster youth ombudsman.

In their testimonies Zachary James Miller, Patrick Lamarr Kindred, Deedee Hartley, Royce Markley and Cain Stellings movingly detailed the consequences of foster youth being unfamiliar with their rights and feeling unsafe in speaking up in defense of themselves—making clear why the stakes were so high in the fight over SB 123.

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State wants all foster youths to know about tuition waiver

State wants all foster youths to know about tuition waiver:
Newly enacted legislation is meant to offset the lack of parental support
July 13, 2012
Lauren Dake, The Bulletin


SALEM — Until recently, Haley Wahnetah could not picture a happy future for herself.

The best-case scenario, the 18-year-old thought, was landing a job at a fast-food restaurant.

But now, the Madras resident and mother of a 2-year-old son is enrolled at Mount Hood Community College and envisions a different life.

“I graduated from high school. ... I registered for college. And I feel like my life is better now than it’s ever been in the past 18 years,” she said.

Wahnetah grew up in foster homes, bouncing among more than five homes while her mother battled addiction. When she was growing up, nobody talked to her about college. She didn’t see herself becoming a drug and alcohol counselor, as she does now.

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School District’s Achievement Compacts will Include Absenteeism

March 22, 2012
Amanda Waldroupe, The Lund Report

School District’s Achievement Compacts will Include Absenteeism

Children’s advocates hope that more school-based health services will occur once more is learned about why students miss school

March 22, 2012—After intense lobbying and attending countless Oregon Education Investment Board meetings and subcommittee meetings, the Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition got what it wanted: inclusion of absenteeism in the achievement compacts between school districts and the state, which could lead to more information about students’ health problems.

Achievement compacts are agreements between Oregon’s 197 school districts and the state that are expected to determine whether schools are marching toward the goal of having 100 percent of high school students graduate by 2025. The agreements, and the creation of the Education Investment Board, were part of a major overhaul that Governor Kitzhaber and the Legislature made to the public education system in the legislative session that just ended.

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Children First’s Pamela Butler Discusses Jeanette Maples in the Statesman Journal

Jeanette Maples’ death is important lesson for us all
Mar. 19, 2012
Pamela Butler, Children First for Oregon
The Statesman Journal

For some of us, Jeanette Maples’ death will never be forgotten.

Advocates who work tirelessly to reduce child abuse and neglect are reminded in our daily work of what happens to vulnerable children when the community—and the system created to protect them—fails them. In order to prevent a similar tragedy, the state legislature and Department of Human Services must not view her story as an isolated case, but one that is emblematic of a continual, urgent issue that deserves adequate resources and attention.

Maples’ story clearly highlighted shortcomings in DHS policies and practices—from abuse allegations that are closed with no investigation to the criteria caseworkers use to assess a child’s vulnerability.

While the department has taken steps to address these failures in the wake of Maples’ death, it must continue to use its Quality Assurance Tool to review allegations of abuse that haven’t been investigated—because we know that so often these calls are the smoke before the fire.

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Some Serious Glitches in Oregon’s $40 Million Child Welfare Computer

Oregon’s $40 million child welfare computer upgrade has glitches, some serious
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Michelle Cole, OregonLive.com

SALEM—

Oregon child welfare managers have not had access to statewide performance data showing how quickly local offices are responding to abuse reports and other information. Foster parents have waited for payments. And caseworkers say they are spending time putting information into a computer that should be spent with families.

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Statewide limit on day care subsidies may affect local parents

Statewide limit on day care subsidies may affect local parents
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Carisa Cegavske, The News-Review

“Some families on the waiting list will now receive subsidies. Many more will not, however. There are 3,000 families on the waiting list, which is growing by 100 families a week, said Regan Gray, a lobbyist with Children First for Oregon.”

“Children First lobbied the Legislature to tap federal grants already awarded the state to raise the cap back to 10,000. About $10 million of the $16.6 million in federal child care and developments funds will remain unspent under the budget adopted by the Legislature, according to Children First.”

“After the state imposed the 10,000-family cap, fewer working parents sought child care and some day cares closed, said Anna Aasen, project specialist at Family Connections in Roseburg, a state-funded child care referral agency. She said she believes both may have been largely caused by cuts in subsidies.

Another Children First lobbyist, Stacy Michaelson, said 2,000 child care providers statewide closed between December 2010 and December 2011.”

Read the Original Article

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Pamela Butler Guest Column: Cutbacks hamper agency’s ability to prevent abuse cases

GUEST VIEWPOINT: Cutbacks hamper agency’s ability to prevent abuse cases
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Pamela Butler, Children First for Oregon
The Register-Guard

Jeanette Maples’ death never will be forgotten. Advocates who work tirelessly to reduce child abuse and neglect are reminded in our daily work of what happens to vulnerable children when the community fails them.

To prevent a similar tragedy, the state Legislature and the Oregon Department of Human Services must not view her story as an isolated case, but one that is emblematic of a continual, urgent issue that deserves adequate resources and attention.

Jeanette’s story clearly highlighted shortcomings in DHS policies and practices, from abuse allegations that are closed with no investigation to the criteria caseworkers use to assess a child’s vulnerability.

While the department has taken steps to address these failures in the wake of Jeanette’s death, it must continue to use its Quality Assurance Tool to review allegations of abuse that haven’t been investigated — because we know that these calls are often the smoke before the fire.

Read More / Comments. . .

Report: Oregon Kids Living in Poor Areas Have Tripled

Report: Oregon Kids Living in Poor Areas Have Tripled
Friday, February 23, 2012
KTVZ.com News Sources

SALEM, Ore.—An estimated 42,000 children in Oregon are living in areas where at least 30 percent of their neighbors are poor, which affects them negatively in a variety of ways, according to a report released Thursday.

The number of Oregon children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty has tripled since 2000, according to the KIDS COUNT “Data Snapshot” report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Even being one of the more stable families in an impoverished neighborhood still holds a family back, says Laura Speer, the Casey Foundation’s associate director for policy reform.

“It really gets at this double-jeopardy in terms of these children who are living in high-poverty communities that there actually is an effect that the communities have, regardless of their own family’s income,” she said.

Children living in areas of concentrated poverty have harmful stress levels, the report says, and are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems and trouble in school.

Stacy Michaelson, a Children First for Oregon policy associate, says it’s all part of a much bigger problem: With 374,000 children in Oregon who are living in low-income households, a number which has been creeping up for a decade and isn’t confined to high-poverty areas.

“We’re a small state; that’s a large portion of folks,” Michaelson said. “Things are green and pretty in the Northwest, but that doesn’t mean our kids aren’t experiencing poverty. I think because it’s not visualized in the same way as it is in a lot of other areas, it’s sort of easy to not realize the magnitude of the problem.”

Michaelson, who has been sitting in on this week’s budget discussions at the Legislature, says she hoped for more dialogue about how and when to deploy social services, not just whether to fund or cut them. She calls it a “return on investment conversation.”

“Where we really look at, at what point we begin investing dollars in a family—and are we waiting until a family gets to a point where they’re in a really dire position? Or are we prioritizing programs that prevent families from getting to that level of poverty in the first place?” she asked.

Children First for Oregon advocates maintaining funding for programs such as Employment-Related Day Care, which helps lower-income families pay for child care so parents can hold jobs. The Casey Foundation report says three out of four children living in poverty have at least one parent in the full-time workforce.

The full report is online at AECF.org.

Chris Thomas of Oregon News Service prepared this report.

Read the Original Article

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