Letter from the Board
In 2020, we began partnering with ODHS with the shared goal of helping Oregon's children and youth safely exit foster care through family reunification, guardianship or adoption. We are developing ODHS-community partnerships to stabilize Child Welfare-involved families and bring children home, sooner. The need for community involvement is even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID pandemic, which has hit vulnerable families hardest.
ODHS prioritized 3 primary barriers to child-family reunification in Marion County: housing stability, child safety and transportation. Robust collaboration between ODHS and community partners is essential to address these issues, CP3 serves as the bridge to help identify and develop solutions and to cultivate collaboration with community partners.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our work, we have forged ahead, including expanding the CP3-ODHS partnership into Douglas county. In this update, we share our progress towards addressing each of these barriers.
CP3 Updates | Fall 2021
Housing Stability: New Supportive Housing
Child Safety: Piloting Safe at Home
Transportation: Mobilizing Volunteer Drivers
Highlighting ACEs in the Marion-Polk CHIP
Bringing CSH's Keeping Families Together Model to Marion County
Community and ODHS Partnership to Enable Case-by-Case Strategic Reunification
Douglas County, Oregon
Program Updates Directly Addressing Barriers to
Clean & Sober Low-Barrier Self-Pay Group
Housing Site Launched in Salem
Parents identified the Iron Tribe Network’s (ITN) clean and sober, low-rent, low-barrier, mixed-gender, self-pay, group housing as a resource for Child Welfare-involved families in need of stable housing. CP3 secured enough funding to help ITN launch 2 self-pay group houses in Marion-Polk, staffed by a Peer Support Specialist. ITN opened the first house in March. Within weeks it was fully occupied by 4 families (8 full time residents: 5 adults, 3 kids) and 6 visiting kids. All families have experienced Child Welfare-involvement.
Piloting Safe at Home | Mobilizing Volunteer
Child-family reunification begins with a trial period, during which child safety must be ensured. Lack of safety assurance is often a barrier to reunification. Safe at Home mobilizes community members to volunteer as Family Partners to keep an eye on child safety during trial reunification with their birth family. Due to COVID-19, Safe at Home suspended recruitment of volunteer Family Partners. We have hired a Program Manager and will actively recruit Family Partners once the pandemic subsides.
Mobilizing Volunteer Drivers for More Child-Family Visits
Child-family visits are the most important factor in maintaining a child’s attachment to his/her parents and siblings and are predictive of successful family reunification. Regular visits support parental engagement and motivation for change, and reduce the anxiety of family separation. Volunteer drivers make more child-family visits possible, and free ODHS case workers to focus directly on families and their needs.
CP3 is partnering with ODHS to help recruit volunteer drivers to increase the number of child-family visits. Please help us find volunteer drivers - for more information, visit cp3oregon.org/marion-drivers or download the English or Spanish flyer.
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A Success Story
One Family at a Time
In June, an ITN tenant regained custody of her 5- and 11- year old daughters. Her ability to maintain stable housing and sobriety helped reunify her family. She is starting college in September and hopes to become a social worker.
Highlighting ACEs in Marion-Polk CHIP
Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs) are used by health and other public agencies to prioritize resources. CP3 worked with the Marion Child Welfare team and the Marion-Polk CHIP development committee to highlight the vulnerability of Child Welfare (CW)-involved families in the CHIP.
Bringing CSH's Keeping Families
Together Model to Marion County
Central to CP3’s mission is to identify and adapt solutions that have proven successful in other communities. CP3 research identified CSH's Keeping Families Together (KFT) approach as a valuable model for replication in Oregon. KFT pools the resources of Child Welfare, housing providers and health system agencies to bring supportive housing to Child Welfare-involved families.
Since 2007, CSH has implemented KFT in multiple states across the country resulting in increased housing stability of families, increased family reunifications, and reduced child abuse/neglect. Through CP3 facilitated discussions, CSH and ODHS have agreed to replicate the KFT model in Oregon, beginning with Marion County. CP3 and CSH have secured the support of key stakeholders in Marion County to replicate KFT in the county. CP3 and CSH are actively looking for funding to begin KFT replication in Marion County.
Community and ODHS Partnering to Enable Case-by-Case Strategic Reunification
In January 2021, Marion County Child Welfare launched Yes! Meetings as a means of collaborative problem-solving with community partners. CP3 worked with Marion County Child Welfare leadership to mobilize key community partners' participation in this process. Lack of Safety Service Providers (SSPs) / Family Partners and stable housing are among the most common barriers for the cases discussed. At each of these bi-weekly meetings, Child Welfare, Self-Sufficiency, Tribal, and Community partners brainstorm about how to remove final barriers to reunification for Child Welfare-involved families.
CP3 Expands in 2nd Oregon County
ODHS has identified Douglas County as the next location for the expansion of the CP3-ODHS public-private partnership. ODHS research team is currently reviewing cases to identify the biggest barriers to child-family reunification in Douglas County. CP3 has started initial outreach to understand local dynamics from the perspective of key stakeholders in Douglas County.