Help Foster Youth Better the Child Welfare System
The Oregon Child Welfare System and Oregon Foster Youth are in crisis. We must come together to ask our legislature to budget money for child welfare – to provide enough caseworkers, to support foster parents, and to provide Independent Living Program (ILP) services for current and former foster youth.
SB 745, the expansion of the ILP budget and services to all eligible youth, is critical to the wellbeing of current, former, and all future foster youth.
Youth struggle to access basic human rights such as proper housing, education support, job training and additional support from trained ILP workers. Through ILP, foster youth receive support in learning a range of skills, including strategies to complete high school, renting their first apartment, finding employment, budgeting for expenses, and applying to college. ILP also gives youth the opportunity to establish supportive relationships with adults and build community with other youth who share the unique experience of transitioning out of care.
- The current service level for ILP is $2.2M and
- Youth ages 16 to 20 years old (up to their 21st birthday) have access in Oregon
- To expand the ILP portion of the DHS Child Welfare budget with an additional $8.5M
- Youth ages 14 to 22 years old (up until their 23rd birthday) would have access in Oregon, as the Federal government defined as eligible and needing of services
Learning to live independently as an adult is a challenge for any young person. But for young people in foster care, the path toward adulthood and independent living can be filled with more obstacles and detours than the typical young person faces. Data shows many young people transitioning from foster care face barriers in achieving stability, are less likely to finish high school, have challenges accessing and maintaining higher education, and face disproportionate levels of unemployment and homelessness.
Without Expanded ILP funding, Oregon youth houselessness will continue to increase drastically and DHS will no longer be able to fulfill their duties. It is time for the Legislature to budget the money for child welfare – to provide enough caseworkers, to support foster parents, and to provide Independent Living Program (ILP) services for current and former foster youth.
Investing in improving child welfare now can truly shape the future of Oregon, because the youth who reside in the beautiful state we call home are who make the future of Oregon brighter! Youth will undoubtedly become lawyers, doctors, and even Representatives and Senators.