Oregon Governor calls for child welfare staffing boost

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called for an increase in staffing at the state’s child welfare agency after problems were uncovered in an audit.

In a Thursday statement, Brown called for spending $14.5 million to hire 185 new staff in the Child Welfare division of the Department of Human Services. Along with managers, figures accompanying Brown’s remarks called for 150 new case workers and social workers.

“Before we can accomplish anything else as a state, the safety of Oregon’s most vulnerable children must be secured,” Brown said.

Brown’s announcement followed a January audit that found serious problems with foster care in Oregon, including overworked caseworkers, a drop in available foster homes, management shortcomings, and children without homes spending weeks in hotels. The report called the agency’s response “slow, indecisive and inadequate.”