State Sen. Sara Gelser takes her seat in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Gelser introduced language in a measure Tuesday to require the state Department of Human Services to present a plan to minimize out-of-state placement for children in foster care.

State Sen. Sara Gelser takes her seat in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Gelser introduced language in a measure Tuesday to require the state Department of Human Services to present a plan to minimize out-of-state placement for children in foster care.

Bryan M. Vance / OPB

An effort is underway to bring home some of Oregon's foster care children who are placed in out-of-state facilities.

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State Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, introduced language in a measure Tuesday that would require the state's Department of Human Services to submit a report to the state Legislature by Sept. 1 detailing their plan to develop in-state placements and describe how they are working to minimize out-of-state placements.

The number of children Oregon is sending to out-of-state, privately run facilities has more than doubled since 2017.

There are more than 80 children placed in out-of-state facilities. The majority of kids are in facilities run by Alabama-based Sequel Youth and Family Services, which oversees Clarinda Academy in Iowa and a number of other for-profit facilities across the country.

The facilities have been criticized lately. Washington state stopped sending foster care children to Clarinda after a October 2018 report by the nonprofit Disability Rights Washington, which concluded that the use of out-of-state facilities to house foster children was "creating an unacceptably heightened risk of abuse and neglect" and more "harm to youth who have already suffered from multiple, prolonged, or chronic traumatic events."

Clarinda Academy has also been in the national news recently after a young woman who was placed in the facility said a counselor had raped her.

Gelser is holding a hearing next week focusing on out-of-state placements and a representative from Sequel Youth and Family Services is expected to attend.

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