Foster care due to inadequate housing increased 40% over two years


Oregon children paying the price for legislative inaction on statewide protections for families who rent.

Today in her proclamation for National Foster Care Month, Gov. Kate Brown called out housing instability as one of the root causes for family separation and placement of children into foster care. In 2017, inadequate housing was a factor in 17% of the removal of children from their family. This is a 40% increase over two years ago, affecting 200 more children.

“We want to thank Gov. Brown for emphasizing that the best way to keep kids out of state custody is to focus on what brings them there in the first place. The effect of the state’s housing crisis on Oregon’s children is crystal clear. It’s separating them from their parents, disrupting their educations, erasing their opportunities and dimming their hopes for the future,” says Pam Phan, Pamela N. Phan, from Community Alliance of Tenants a member of the Stable Homes for Oregon Coalition.

This data joins the growing body of work in Oregon focusing on how children are affected by the lack of safe and adequate housing in our state. Other important numbers to know:

  • Children of color are being hardest hit by the housing crisis.

  • There are no neighborhoods in Portland neighborhoods that are affordable to rent for the average Black, Latino or Native American family.

  • School districts in the Portland area with the most diverse populations are seeing a 25% turnover in students every year.

  • Oregon students who have experienced homelessness are 51% less likely to graduate on time.

  • There were more than 22,500 homeless Oregon students in 2017, an increase of nearly 6% over the prior year.

  • Housing instability is causing massive churn through school districts as children move from place to place. In Oregon’s largest school district, more than 1700 students churned through at least three schools over the last five years.

“Children are paying the price for the legislature’s failure to pass statewide tenant protections to stabilize families and keep them together with a roof over their head,” says Alison McIntosh, Deputy Director, Policy & Communications, Neighborhood Partnerships and Stable Homes for Oregon Families Coalition.

To learn more and get involved in passing local and statewide tenant protections to keep families together, join us at http://www.stablehomesor.org. For information on the drivers of foster care over the past several years care: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/CHILDREN/CHILD-ABUSE/Documents/2017-Child-Welfare-Data-Book.pdf

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