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Oregon sends foster kids to former jails, not families


ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) – A move to improve the care of foster children relegated to living in hotels has resulted in 25 percent more children removed from their families being housed in institutions such as former juvenile jails, The Oregonian/OregonLive has found.

The children sent to cinder-block facilities are often the most traumatized and difficult to care for. Most are teens, but the state is looking at expanding institutional programs for children as young as 6.

Oregon child welfare leaders signed a court settlement a year ago, promising to stop housing vulnerable foster children in hotels, state offices and juvenile detention centers, instead of with families.

State caseworkers had increasingly relied on those makeshift methods as Oregon faced a shortage of foster homes.

Child welfare officials say they’ve begun phasing out the use of hotel rooms, but the state has placed dramatically more youth in institutional settings.

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