Some children spent 80 days or more living in hotel rooms as part of an Oregon foster care program, according to court papers filed Tuesday.
The Oregon Law Center is suing the Oregon Department of Human Services in federal court on behalf of two unnamed foster children.
The center’s attorneys say DHS’s “temporary emergency lodging” program can’t be considered “temporary” if children end up living in hotels for almost three months.
Children stayed for an average of 11 days, but many stayed longer.
Plaintiffs say the program exposes children to emotional and physical harm, and deprives them of the stability of a committed caregiving relationship. That’s because kids are often placed with case workers and volunteers who rotate shifts three times a day.
The state reached a settlement in the case last year, agreeing to immediately stop using hotels. But settlement talks broke down.
Legal papers say the the state placed more than 130 children in hotels over seven months. Eleven percent of the children were age 5 or younger and they missed four days of school on average.
The DHS said it can’t comment on an ongoing case.