Audit: Oregon foster care needs more money, culture fix

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson says an audit of the agency that oversees the foster care system found overwhelming staff case loads, fewer foster homes and children spending weeks in hotels.

Richardson said Wednesday that such children “need secure and appropriate placements with well-supported foster families.”

According to the audit the Department of Human Services and Child Welfare has a “dysfunctional” culture that contributes to high staff and executive turnover and a lack of accountability. The probe also found that available foster homes had declined by 15 percent since 2011.

Auditors recommended changing the agency culture, increasing the number of case workers and adding more resources.

There are more than 11,000 children and teenagers in Oregon’s foster care system.