Klamath Falls, Ore. – A day after being grilled by state lawmakers on foster care issues, the head of the Oregon Department of Human Services traveled to Klamath Falls.
D.H.S. Director Fariborz Pakseresht acknowledges there’s room for improvement. “A system that has been under-funded, and stressed for many years is going to make some mistakes.”
Pakseresht and Oregon Governor Kate Brown are both defendants in a federal suit targeting Oregon’s foster care.
Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser questioned Pakseresht Tuesday on reports of sending some developmentally disabled people to residential programs out of state.
Pakseresht says he and the state need to work together for improvements. “I don’t think there is any discrepancy between what we want to do, and what the legislature wants to do, or even people at the national level want to do.”
Pakseresht traveled to Klamath Falls after the hearing. “We are talking with the county commissioners, we are talking with some business folks locally here, we are talking to our partners at Klamath Works on how can we better work together.”
D.H.S. District Manager Jeremy Player says the director also visited Oregon Tech, and Sky Lakes Medical Center. “He also had the opportunity to go through some of our areas that have struggles.”
Pakseresht says he’s also working with the Klamath Tribes. “The Klamath Tribes have a very high number of children in the foster care system, they are motivated to reduce that.” He adds that he believes local partnerships will be the key to improving the system. “The only way that we can do this is through connecting with community resources. It is the community that makes things happen.”
Player says he appreciates the effort. “For him to stop and listen is, I think that shows a lot of commitment on his part.”
Fariborz Pakseresht has served as Director of Oregon D.H.S. since September of 2017.
This is his third visit to Klamath Falls.