#Dare2Care is our campaign to raise awareness about the crisis facing children in Oregon’s foster care system.
Our goal is to help put an end to the shortage of available and appropriate foster homes for youth who have already experienced high levels of trauma, by recruiting and supporting Therapeutic Foster Families for high needs children in the State of Oregon.
“The lack of foster homes and therapeutic placements for traumatized children has reached a crisis level, and Oregon’s most vulnerable children are paying an exorbitant price… In the last year, Oregon’s child welfare system lost approximately 400 foster home beds and 100 residential placements.”
—Judges Nan Waller, Susie L. Norby and Ricardo J. Menchaca, Oregonlive.com
As stated, there is a large discrepancy between the high number of children entering the system and the low number of certified foster homes. This crisis leads to several outcomes for our children. In some circumstances, foster families are often asked to take more children than they have capacity to house. Though in a home for the moment, this leaves the child without an actual bed, often sleeping on a couch or floor. This may also hinder the level of focused emotional support in which the child is provided, as foster parents are working to provide that level of support to more children at one time. In many circumstances, due to the shortage of available foster homes, children with emotional and behavioral needs are left without a family, able or willing to care for them. When an appropriate foster home cannot be identified to meet the needs of the child, this leaves children sleeping in State offices or hotel rooms with staff members.
“The lack of homes has forced child welfare workers to place children farther and farther from their communities, sometimes 200 to 300 miles away, which can be detrimental, especially for school-aged children…. We know that kids suffer significant trauma because of the abuse they left, and they are grieving the loss of a parent temporarily, then to take them outside of a community where they feel safe- they grieve the loss of those connections as well.”
—Deena Loughary, program manager for the Child Welfare Division of DHS in Benton County, written by Canda Fuqua, Gazette-Times.com
Each transition to a new home adds to the trauma foster children have already endured in their short lives. This trauma may impact the children emotionally and behaviorally, which may result in multiple placements each year, each move contributing to additional trauma perpetuating the cycle. The instability and lack of consistent attachments can leave them struggling to survive day to day, much less flourish and succeed. They desperately need supportive families who can help them thrive and grow in their communities.
Maple Star is actively recruiting therapeutic foster homes for youth ages six and older, with a high need and focus on recruiting families who will support youth ages 10 and up. Children in Therapeutic Foster Care are considered to have moderate to high behavioral needs due to mental health or emotional trauma. They are experiencing difficulty in at least two or more areas of life and receive additional support and services to help them build life skills.
We challenge people to open their hearts to the children in care and see how rewarding it can be.
Will you dare to care? Click here to learn more about Therapeutic Foster Care »