Jackson, Josephine Counties in ‘dire’ need of foster homes

SOUTHERN OREGON — In hopes of preventing the separation of siblings into foster care homes, a worker with the Oregon Department of Human Services is reaching out to our community.

In Jackson and Josephine counties, a combined total of 561 children are in foster care.

In 11 years of being the Resource Family Retention and Recruitment Champion for the Oregon Dept. of Human Services, Bob Hedrick says he’s never seen a shortage of foster care homes this extreme.

“Our homes that we have right now, some of them have put themselves on pause because of COVID — and understandably so, they want to keep their families safe,” he said.

Hedrick says there are lots of misconceptions around how people can become certified to take in foster children. He says most of the time people believe they can’t become a resource home because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status.

“As long as you’re 21 years old, you have stable housing whether it be a house, condo, apartment duplex and you can financially support your household each month, and you can pass the criminal history and background check, none of that matters,” said Hedrick.

Hedrick says the main concern is keeping foster siblings together, as the foster home shortage is beginning to force siblings to split up. “How do we separate this sibling group of 3? You know, which one of these 3 can’t stay with the other 2 or do we need to look for 3 other homes?”

Foster children span from the age of 18 all the way down to babies.

Between Jackson and Josephine counties, the largest age group in foster care are 6 to 12-year-olds, with 1 to 5-year-olds coming in second.

Currently, there are 341 certified resource homes across the counties.

“We want people to know if and when they become certified, they tell us what works best for them. That’s another belief out there, people think that if we call them they have to say yes.”

If you’re interested in getting involved, visit everychildoregon.org.

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