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C.O. foster care project receives $300K grant

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BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon’s foster care system will receive a vital infusion of funds, thanks to a $300,000 grant received Wednesday. The Ford Family Foundation awarded United Way of Deschutes County a three-year grant on Oct. 9 to support TRACEs’ work in foster care.

TRACEs is a region-wide partnership across Central Oregon that helps communities learn how to recognize trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and nurture its antidote – resilience, which means having the supports needed to overcome adversity.

“Nurturing resilience in our community includes fixing broken systems,” said Ken Wilhelm, Executive Director of United Way of Deschutes County. “Systems only work when they put people first. This level of investment in foster care can help us do that by supporting children and families with culturally responsive, trauma-informed care.”

The grant will support the collective effort of a TRACEs foster care working group, made up of dozens of organizations including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Family Resource Center, Central Oregon Foster Parents Association, Every Child, JBarJ, Friends of the Children and the Oregon Department of Human Services.

The funding will go toward key areas identified by that working group, including strengthening biological families, directly supporting children in foster care, nurturing stable, caring and responsive relationships and encouraging system improvements.

This grant comes on top of $565,000 already invested in the three-year shared agenda of the foster care working group, bringing the total investment to $865,000 and putting the movement that much closer to its $1.6 million goal.

“This three-year investment in the work of TRACEs partners will touch the lives of hundreds of Central Oregon kids,” said Katie McClure, executive director of TRACEs. “Our partners’ eventual goal is to eliminate the need for foster care. This funding will help us support children and families currently navigating the foster care system, and allow us to further our efforts in stabilizing and reuniting families.”

To learn more about how to support Central Oregon children and help bring the foster care work to full funding, contact Ken Wilhelm at United Way of Deschutes County.

About United Way of Deschutes County

Since 1953, United Way of Deschutes County has been strengthening communities in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties and investing locally in our community’s most needed programs and services while simultaneously strengthening our community.

About TRACES:

TRACEs is a region-wide partnership of people and organizations committed to increasing understanding of trauma and cultivating resilience. Through collective action, and with backbone support from the United Way, TRACEs is creating systemic cultural change through research, training, education, stronger communities, advocacy and new funding for programs that will have a lasting impact on the lives of all who live in Central Oregon. 

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