Klamath Falls, Ore. - Keeping more kids out of foster homes...that's the target of a new approach being used by the Oregon Department of Human Services in Klamath Falls.
A new Department of Human Services program is providing more options and resources to help D.H.S. caseworkers help families.
"We have the 'traditional' track we've used for years." Explains Oregon DHS Child Welfare Director Lois Day. "And the 'alternate' track is one in which we're able to engage the family in a way where they're the driver of the services that they need to keep their children safe in the home."
District Manager Jeremy Player of the Klamath Falls D.H.S. office notes that new approach was put in place last month...
"We're finding about 65% of the calls that we receive are falling into the alternative track."
Part of the new approach involves finding what local services families need, such as mental health, housing, substance abuse treatment, or budgeting.
"And then, really a navigator, or pilot, or mentor." Adds Day. "That helps families move through the service array, and bureaucracy if you will, to get where they need to be."
D.H.S. is hoping to expand the approach statewide...though no timeline has been set.
"This is the way that we want to be practicing child welfare in Oregon." States Day.
Klamath and Lake counties got about 800 thousand dollars to begin the new approach.
Oregon lawmakers have set aside 23 million dollars for a statewide launch.
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