DHS to stop housing foster kids in hotels by 2020

Image: KPTV

The Oregon Department of Human Services announced plans to stop temporarily housing foster children in hotels rooms by 2020.

FOX 12 Investigators previously reported that DHS had placed 189 children in hotels at least 284 times between Sept. 2016 and July 2017 costing the state of Oregon $2.5 million.

A settlement from a 2016 lawsuit, filed by community advocates for children, aimed at ending the practice of foster children staying in state offices and hotel rooms.

As a result of the settlement, the DHS will dramatically reduce the number of foster kids staying in hotel rooms to no more than 24 per year by the end of 2020, as well as limit the number of foster kids staying in hotels.

DHS will no longer place children in child welfare offices, according to the settlement.

Hotel stays were also on the agenda as guidelines for hotels will become tighter. As an example, kids 11 and younger won't be kept more than five nights in a hotel and children ages 11-17 won't spend more than 12 nights in a hotel room.

If an emergency situation occurs where a child must stay in a hotel, DHS will provide a ride for kids to school and other activities.

DHS is taking steps to hire an expert to look into the causes of these temporary placements and plan to work with community partners to find appropriate housing for kids.

Anyone interested in learning about becoming a foster parent in Oregon can visit the foster care page on Oregon.gov.

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