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Head Of Oregon DHS Says Not All Foster Care Kids Are Safe


The entrance to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

The entrance to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

John Rosman/OPB

The head of Oregon’s Department of Human Services told lawmakers Thursday that he didn’t believe all children in the state’s foster care system are safe.

At Thursday’s hearing of the Senate Interim Committee on Human Services and Early Childhood, Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, questioned Interim DHS Director Clyde Saiki about operations in the foster care system.
 
“Given the role that you sit in right now, do you feel that all of the children that are in the care of the state today … are safe?” Gelser asked.

“No,” Saiki said. “There’s no other way I can answer that question.”

Saiki was a deputy director in the department from 2006 to 2010. Gov. Kate Brown appointed him to the top leadership position in November.
 
Saiki said there are many good providers, but the problems at certain homes “keep him up at night.”
 
DHS has convened a special committee, which is hiring an outside consultant to help address the foster care problems.  
 
Oregon’s latest attempts to improve its troubled foster care system come after a pattern of neglect and abuse at a former Portland provider called “Give Us This Day” were uncovered by Willamette Week.

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