Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed two bills into law Wednesday securing new rights for foster kids.
Related: Foster Parent Recruitment Initiative To Expand Statewide In Oregon
One bill gives foster kids with siblings the right to be placed together whenever possible and the right to communicate with a sibling when not placed together.
The second bill makes it easier for foster youth between 16 and 20 to live independently.
DHS spokeswoman Rosemary Iavenditti said the bill allows foster kids to meet a 40-hour activity requirement for the program by volunteering, as well as working or going to school.
“For foster youth, it’s often difficult for them to obtain employment," she said. "So one way for them to gain knowledge and skills and sort of beef up their resume, if you will, is to go do those volunteer or internships to gain skills and be able to put something on the resume.”
Oregon's foster care system has struggled in recent years to find homes for children over the last year, resorting to temporary housing in hotels or even state offices.