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This bill would create a pilot program to refer Lane County families with unsubstantiated reports of abuse and neglect, and who have children from newborns to age 5, for further assessment. Both children and adults in these families would be considered for additional evaluation. Caseworkers would also make recommendations for appropriate interventions such as "parental education and support."
We have been closely tracking House Bill 2858 and working with OCEANetwork to oppose this pilot program. Your calls are needed now to help defeat this legislation while it is assigned to an unofficial work group that is being held on the bill. We ask that you contact the House Human Services Committee members listed below and urge them to oppose this bill.
3/7/2011 (House) Public Hearing held in House Human Services.
6/30/2011 (House) In committee upon adjournment.
Under the Lane County pilot program proposed by House Bill 2858, families whose 30-day Department of Human Services (DHS) investigations had been completed and closed without any evidence of abuse or neglect would still be referred to a third-party organization for additional review. All cases that are considered "founded" for abuse and neglect already receive additional attention.
Under the pilot program, any family referred would be subject to a determination of what services might be available and appropriate for the child and parents. An assessment of the needs and resources available to the family would also be done along with a recommendation for appropriate "interventions" into the family's life. The recommendations could include parental education and support, mental health services, or other interventions.
According the DHS, 67,885 allegations of abuse and neglect were made in 2009. Of those allegations, only 28,584 actually were investigated.
Thus, only 42.1% of all allegations met the threshold for abuse and neglect and were referred to social workers for investigation.
While House Bill 2858 would only deal with those reports actually investigated, nearly 75% of all reports actually investigated Oregon in 2009 were determined to be completely unfounded or closed without being able to determine any abuse or neglect. In Lane County, the pilot program would cause the referral of 1,231 reports/families that were unfounded and 411 reports/families that were closed as unable to determine for additional scrutiny. Of the 2,324 investigations for abuse and neglect in Lane County, 29.3% were founded, 53% were unfounded and 17.7% were classified as unable to determine.
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