Yesterday, dozens of child welfare workers, advocates, and foster youth took to the Oregon State Capitol to demand that the Legislature fully fund child welfare. Member-leaders Rosanne Scott, Kelly Paluso, and Antwon Irving joined our Executive Director Melissa Unger, Foster Homes of Healing Facilitator Marissa Johnson, and Oregon Foster Youth Connection foster youth Justin Blivens spoke on the Capitol steps, sharing their perspectives on the urgent need to fund our child welfare system.
After addressing the press, our members met with dozens of legislators and their staff to make it clear that child welfare must be fully funded this legislative session. As the Secretary of State found in an audit last year, we must fully staff and train child welfare, adding at least 700 positions. The stress and workload have led to child welfare having one of the lowest retention rates in the state. Child welfare workers want to be part of the solution. Together, we will win.
And our voices were heard.
Our stories were shared by print, radio, and television news outlets, including The Statesman Journal, KOIN 6, KGW 8, KPTV Fox 12, and OPB. The Associated Press coverage of our call for action has been picked up by media outlets across the nation! This comes on the heels of The Oregonian publishing a powerful op-ed in its Sunday edition by member-leader Sara Ashmore: Child-welfare workers want a better foster care system, too.
Let’s keep this momentum going and make 2019 the year that Oregon finally fully funds its child welfare system!