portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

social services

DHS Foster Care System

This article is about the Bullshit of the Foster care system as it pertains to my experiences.
I have been in the DHS Foster Care System for 10 years now. Here is some of the bullshit that goes on within. Recently my DHS caseworker has been totally nonexistent so I have not been able to get the help and guidance that I need. Also being in the Foster Care System for so long, I have realized that it is all a BS Joke that is played. Most Foster Parents I have encountered are real pieces of shit who just care about recieving their monthly paycheck of $1500 per month. Let me use Willie Brown as an example. While doing good for the political community and contributing in that aspect of society, willie has been a total douche when it comes to caring and helping his Foster Children. I have been living there since October 31, 2005. I have hardly recieved any attention when I need it. Oh and where the hell is the $$? Making $1500 bucks a month off each kid! Us kids need to see some of that money. Oh and about DHS caseworkers, most of them do their best to help their kids on their caseload's succeed. However my caseworker Steven Grove (a.k.a. Bilbo Baggins) has been a real lackluster piece of shit. Im sorry to be blunt but things have got to change with regards to this guy. There needs to be more worry and care put out to us kids to see the demographics of foster kids change to where we dont all end up to be street living bums. Portland and Oregon as a whole needs to look out for their displaced children. As a near "graduate of Foster Care" I would like to see the kids behind me succeed.

hummm... 17.Jun.2006 10:09


i agree that the foster system in jacked. however,i don't think that you fully understand the funding and agreement between the foster parents and dhs. foster parents are given funds to simply provide basic needs. the care part can't be bought.
there are a ton of slacker fosterparents and things need to change. i believe less slackers need to be fosterparents, that money hungry people need to stop fosterparenting, that religious right recruiters need to stop fosterparenting and those not fully invested in the lives of children need to stop fosterparenting. more so....good people need to start fosterparenting. hows about some action?

foster care 18.Jun.2006 08:19

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

i run my whole household on a disabilty check of $881 a month, hopefully dildo boggins is putting that money twords helping the kids. that is his job!

To condescending "parent" - I don't think you fully understand 18.Jun.2006 14:16


Hey (foster) "parent," could you possibly be more condescending? You wrote:

"i don't think that you fully understand the funding and agreement between the foster parents and dhs. foster parents are given funds to simply provide basic needs."

I'm pretty sure this young man, who's lived 10 years in this fucked up system, understands the "funding and agreement between the foster parents and dhs" "fully" enough. For you to claim otherwise just shows that a) you are (or were, or know somebody who is) a foster parent, and b) that Jamal's complaints are valid - just look how you dismiss him! In fact, a portion of the monthly foster care payment IS designated solely as a "personal allowance" for the child and if he isn't getting it, it's wrong.

This is not to criticize all foster parents and case workers or to say there is not a need for CPS. It IS to say that people should start LISTENING to these kids, and that the system is perverse.

As "Rosey" said, MANY people run their WHOLE households on significantly less per month then foster parents get per kid. He does it on $881 per month on disability! A little more than half the state pays for ONE kid in foster care.

A single mom with two kids on TANF gets a maximum of $520 per month for the THREE of them! We're willing to pay a stranger 3 times as much - to care for ONE child - as we're willing to give a poor single mom for THREE TIMES as many people.

So the state will pay significantly more to support a child OUT of his home with strangers, and only after damage has (allegedly) been done to the child, than they will to support that family to stay together in the first place. DHS has been quoted as saying it costs nearly 10 times as much to support a child in CPS than in the home. This is PERVERSE!

If we addressed poverty and need proactively, we wouldn't have to fight meth and child abuse and crime -- and all the other SYMPTOMS that have been blamed -- for our many social ills, AFTER the damage was already done. Most are happy to jump on the bandwagon for more money for prisons and CPS and treatment - don't you feel SAFE now? - but not to stop the need for these things in the first place.

It's all a huge money generating clusterfuck, and it's all being perpetrated in the name of "family values" and "protecting the children." But when more kids coming out of foster care have PTSD than returning Irag war veterans (among other dreadful outcomes), I don't think we've been "protecting" the kids.

Thanks for speaking up Jamal. Don't let the "grown-ups" stifle your voice.

Use the system,Change the system 18.Jun.2006 15:46

Social Worker

I am a social worker though not with CAF - Children and families - but I know a little about their system. Go to  link to www.oregon.gov

Here is my advice to anyone dissatisfied with services from DHS:

Complain as soon as things aren't working. Work your way up the food chain using email (so you have a clear a record of what is said and not said) Go to unhelpful people's supervisors and then their supervisors. Go to the Governor's advocacy office if you have to.

Explain your situation calmly and state facts, ask for and record names, details and timelines. Follow up on schedule and CC any supervisors, sympathetic allies, media and advocates you can think of.

Read the administrative rules about the service system you are using:  http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/index.htm

You have very specific rights and you can often use these to get your desired resolution. Don't be surprised if the people you deal are unfamiliar with these rules. Quote them their own rules when they are violating them. Be persistent.

My opinion is that the foster care system is as dysfunctional as the sytem that necessitates it and, as such, is as likely to cause harm as it is to help. The only way I know that this can change is for the people receiving services and their allies to demand change. Other parts of the social service system are very responsive to advocates and activists. This has caused huge changes in those services, becoming more humane, person centered and individualized.

Become Your Own Cause !!,this from a former FosterKid 20.Jun.2006 16:31

Teresa Teater

To the young man with the concerns about your own "Best Interest',

I WAS PLACED IN A FOSTERCARE/ILLEAGLE ADOPTION BACK IN THE 60'S..and that State/and the local police at that time, rather than believe that a Man in the Airforce,with a high rank,and doing things in his community too, to really gloss himself up, could be doing the henious things I clearly articulated he had been doing for 10 years to me, allowed me to fall thru the cracks...

I feel your pain, what works in my life now, with Work I've done on Children's Law reform in that State and here in Oregon too , THe person whom posted website info for you to read on what you are suppose to be getting for the $1,500 a month,is great and all, however, you also need to be a teen,and have a life and guidance.
It is suppose to be the job of Investigator's to see what the Bank records show, that Foster parents are spending the Money on.
I've always wanted to see reform in fostercare...

I would seriously suggest that you contact your local Police Jurisdiction,and ask for a Child Protective services worker to address your concerns.(they dont always have to be about contacted about violence or physical abuse,to just get questions answered about what money is being spent on,and they can have the appropriate persons get back to you.)They might even appoint a CASA Worker,a court appointed special advocate, as I started to train for being one, I know they really have your best interest only,and can talk to you alone.

I suggest this only, because as an adult,with Questions for the Governor's advocacy Office at the STate Capitol, when you start to question any action a state worker is not monitoring, the State starts to protect their own interest
of their employee's to ward off a possible State Neglect Lawsuit.
If local authority's get involved,they can investigate all parties involved with your care.

You seem very mature enough to know whats not working in your life,and some Parents, I have learned,should never be parents...and are not capable of giving you Love, I suggest you learn as soon as you can, that as I did,I have to go out and create a family in the community,of my choosing,if it's thru Church,
political cause's, Habitat for Humanity (building homes for other's) Library events,signing up for class's to learnart projects,painting etc...I had to find myself ,after losing my biological Family roots.I re invented myself and made a new Family history...I've been a MOM 32 years now, and just became a GrandMa
and It's very possible to have a Family to LOVE and Love you Back !!!
And whatever you do, don't give UP...Kep being your own Cause !! if someone tells you NO...then on to the Next person.

WE just held the First "CHILDREN'S BILL OF RIGHTS CONFERENCE in The United States,HERE IN PORTLAND,OREGON, JUST 3 WEEKS AGO,I photographed it.

Bless You and good Luck

also raised in forster care 06.Jul.2006 01:53


I was raised in foster care starting in 1964. It was a BS system then and it still is now. The problems and issues that cause kids to end up in state care have changed since the foster system was developed and I don't think the system is changing to meet the current needs.

I do have to admit that my parents were a sorry lot but the orphanage and all but the last foster care parents I had where only a slight bit better. So instead of being beaten, screamed at and sexually abused by my own parents I got the spent 5 years having it done by strangers. Strangers who were not capable of caring for them selves much less being trusted to provide CARE for children. The only difference is that the strangers were being paid to take care of me/us. In four year no one, not once, not ever asked my how I was doing or what my life was like. I did not even know the person who came a picked me up a drove me from home to home was a caseworker or that she was supposed to be looking out for my wellbeing.

When I was almost 16 After four year of lazy chain smoking shrews and their pervert husbands or boyfriends by some miracle I landed in a normal home. A home where someone finally took the time to see I was a very troubled girl that need compassion, love and lots of psychiatric care.

Later I was actually a foster parent. I would get kids from other foster homes with only the (usually dirty) cloths that were wearing. Or a grocery bag of filthy "clothing" that was not fit to be used for rags. No underwear, used socks and shoes. Kids seldom came to us with any toys or books. Almost 30 years since I was in the system and as far as I could see nothing had changed.

The solution? 1. Ideally, more competent people being willing to take on a child. Not for the income but because it is the right thing to do. 2. Accountably by the foster parents. Both financial accounting and a log showing they are meeting needs such as doctors appointments, school functions, mental health etc. 3. Though I know it is controversial, prompt termination of parental rights of parents who do not comply with what ever is required to get their kids back, so kids can be adopted before the flawed system damages them.

I have Hope! 12.Jul.2006 22:07

Future Foster Parent erin@eksbiz.com

Reading everyone's thoughts has been eye opening. I am a 31 year old female who only wants to make a difference is a childs life. I am planning on quiting my excellent job to offer my home to 3 or 4 kids (maybe even more).

Maybe the system is screwed up, but not all Foster Parents are. I am not thinking about the money. It is a bonus to have funding to provide a home for the unfortunate, but I intend to use it on the Children. They will have clothes, Food, toys, and any needs taken care of and as many wants as I can provide. I do not plan on having children come into my home so that I can get paid. I see this as my life and a duty to PROPERLY take care of these children who have been abused and neglected.

My fear however is the flow. Getting through to a child and helping and loving them and then for the system to move them or send them home. I know they are to be care for in the transition times when parents are getting thier act together, or a tragedy in the family has happened. I don't want to be just another stranger that they are placed with. I want the stop at my home remembered. I know that there is a need and I feel it my calling. I fear that I will get attached and not handle it well when they are taken out of my house.

TO THE FOSTER KIDS OR FORMER FOSTER KIDS: What would have made the process easier? Did you just turn your feelings off to be able to cope the the different homes? What made the GOOD homes better than the bad? What advice would you provide for me who is just getting into this? I am open to all you have to share. I can't just not do anything because the system sucks. I am not perfect, but I am going to try to do something. What was you best foster parent like (If any)?

Please share. I will be checking back.

Responding Back RE: Foster Care 18.Jul.2006 14:50

Teresa Teater

You Asked what was the Best Foster Home ? I had none. HOWEVER,I CAN TELL YOU,
THAT I KNOW OF A WOMAN (WHOM IS NOW DEAD)THAT WAS MY FORMER Juvenile probation Officer in Lincoln Nebraska in 1973, named Maryilyn Begges whom while doing so, she was also a foster parent to only Boys,teenagers. Her Own Son was/is a Lincoln Nebraska Police Officer
there in Lincoln ,Nebraska..Look him UP ..Robert Begges Jr.

Those Boys worshipped the ground she walked on,and she had over 200 kids thru out 30 years or more. She had her Church and she only had to threaten to call her son to come by in Uniform to deal with a serious problem.
Years later after growing up, I made it my life goal to stay involved in Politics in Nebraska REgarding Childrens rights and reform of Protection Law.
Marylin, Alice Abel and Hulda Roper of Lincoln Nebraska where many of the top women whom helped create the Juvenile Justice system in Nebraska so as to get them the best chance's in life to start over,and to not go to court in the same arena as Adults.
Marylin and the latter 2 got 100's of Community awards for staying on top of the issues and tweaking whatneeded to be done.
They held community meetings of all area's of the community, so as to seminate what they observed in Youth,good or bad, and the women worked to make the Bad better, or tweak the good aspects to overlap etc.

So what 'm saying, if you want to be a foster MOM, you are going to run into areas where each child needs totally different rules and or intervention, and you have to get all your youth to blend into harmony with each other.

I prayed for another kid in my foster home, so that someone else could be in trouble all the time besides me,(misery loves company )But I took it all.
To be a good honest Foster Mom, You have to tell your kids up front, if you have serious concerns about your treatment, feel free to contact school authortiy's or Police on your own, and If it turns out to be nothing,then at least you as a youth have some sort of control in your life.
This free's a kid up,knowing you can say this, that you dont mind being Oversighted ,because you are saying to this Kid, you have worth in this world, and I am secure in that I am going to make mistakes as a foster Parent,but can learn and fix my istakes so that you will know you were heard.

If a Foster kid is old enough /cognitive skills,he/she should sit down with you and create a 1 year plan and a five year plan for his/her life,and then set the goals
to achieve them,and your job is to find away to start them off,and keep them funded and on tract 100% but be flexable...things change in an instant with kids.
And one thing I wish I had, was a Photo album /scrapbook of my own, of me having a life in that home,(for what little bit of life I did have there.) and my school picture.and awards etc.
Love, Respect,accepetence,Failures (boo boo's and all),responsibility,guidence thats all any kid wants from a parent above all this, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE ....
Feel free to ask me anything else..

DHS Foster Care System 20.Jul.2006 01:46

Jamal Khoury

Hello, My name is Laura.... I have recently had the foul misfortune of dealing with DHS/CPS and I now know EXACTLY what this so called "Agency" is about.! The furtherest thing from "The best interest of a child" To the social worker who had posted on this topic,..."If only it where that easy,

"Complain as soon as things aren't working. Work your way up the food chain using email, etc..." Been there, Done that!! It only ends up causing the parent more loops to jump through. In my own case, The worker completely lied to the judge to obtain an order to remove my little girl. Which, If I had a GOOD lawyer could have easily proven this.! Everytime she (social worker) opens her mouth, all that spews out is LIES.. LIES AND FALSE ACCUSATIONS! Please tell me... When you have to build a case and tear a child away from their loving home & family, based soley on lies.... Does that not tell you something.!?!? That your fucked up corrupt system is far more abusive/neglectful..than the majority of families you pull them away from!!! Maybe you can inform me as to exactly how.........or who I would get to actually DO THEIR JOB, AND GIVE A SHIT enough to allow my daughter & I JUSTICE.!!?! Laura

Foster Parent 02.Aug.2006 20:43


I'm a foster parent. I get $387.00 per child. I have two. It's not enough, but worse than that one of the children does NOT belong in foster care. She has two loving parents that have jumped through hoops with DHS to get her back when she should never have been taken in the first place. DHS leaves/returns kids in unsafe homes, removes kids from adequite ones and licenses poor quality humans as foster parents then crowds those homes because sane people can't put up with DHS. Some caseworkers try very hard but eventually ALL (good caseworkers, uncorrupted attornies and judges, good foster parents, good birth families, and wonderful kids) can't stand and fight DHS. It's useless and the kids suffer the crueliest fates.

Foster Care in Oklahoma 03.Aug.2006 11:18

Christian VanSkike cvanskike@cox.net

I live in Oklahoma, and the foster care system here is a peice of shit. Alot of th foster parents here are in it for the money. My Girlfriend, who is in Foster Care, has been locked in her room, hit, and moved around like she is nothing. Within the past year, she has changed schools 17 times. This is getting really stupid. Now she is going into a prison like place because they have "ran out of places to put her." I am going to become a foster parent so I can change this. I am going to put that $1500 in an account for the children so they can have it when they get out.

Former Foster Parent 04.Aug.2006 12:25


I was a foster parent three years ago. We (my partner and I) received about $350 a month for a teenager. We spent well over that each month, but that isn't the point...we were asked by the youth to be her foster parents because she trusted us. We tried to give her as normal of an experience as we could - she certainly hadn't had anything remotely normal in her past, having been in foster care for 14 years.

When we attended "foster parent training", I was appalled at the people who would warehouse kids for that $350 a month, 4 to a room, and live off that money. And "relative" foster parents who say things during training such as "What do you mean, I can't hit my grandkid?".

My foster child chose to leave our home when she was 18, although we offered to pay for her college. I think it was because she had been in the system so long, and was sick of it. DHS needs serious re-vamping. The current system isn't working. There aren't enough decent people to be foster parents. Foster kids need advocacy and help to negotiate a system that isn't working for them.

Casey Family Foster Care Alumni Report 12.Sep.2006 08:55


Casey Family runs a Foster Care agency and has been working on studies to find out what contributes to a positive foster care outcome for adults. I worked on the initial study interviewing adults who had gone through the foster care system in Casey, Oregon and Washington foster care. On their website is intials findings from these interviews. As an interviewer I cannot diclose the information I heard from these young adults, but I can say that many of the stories I heard were appalling concerning the care they received in foster care. There were also stories of what can only be concidered angels who helped to save the hearts, minds and souls of children. The Casey Alumni study was a truely remarkable study in that it really was trying to find out what worked to transition foster children into adult life with a positive outcome for mental and physical health, economic security after transition out of foster care, and educational opportunities. It was one of the most in depth studies ever done which asked the alumni of foster care themselves about their experiences while in foster care and their currant lives. You can read more about this study's findings at www.casey.org/Resources/Publications. The national study 57 page report of initial findings will hopefully add the the discussion of the failings of the current foster care system, as well as, the changes that can be made to improve it. It cannot cure all of the problems, but I truely hope that it opens the discussion nationwide.

money to be a parent? 21.Dec.2006 20:01

future foster parent in oregon

All i want to do is help some kids that need a better home.. so u all say that foster parents get paid? how much do they pay people be foster parents, my husband and i just decided to go to the training classes they start in january but didn't realize they pay u.. does anyone no how much they pay in oregon, just curious to see what they pay people to help raise great kids..

Foster/addoptive parents 02.Jan.2007 11:55

kadi kadi5413@yahoo.com

I have been a foster parent since 1993, and adoptive 3 siblings 6 years ago. I understand the frustration this man feels. Trust me as a foster parent here in MO, I am furious at the system. My husband and I are not wealthy but we are middle class. I make it a point to spend the 227 on each child. What bothers me is some people get 6+ children in foster care so that they don't have to work- that is $1362 a month. They feed kids the bare min. My adoptive children were in a home before we got them that used the kids money to pay for a new vehicle. They also abuse my adoptive children. When I reported this to the DFS. They stated the kids were lying. Wake up DFS. I am putting together information hopefully to write a book or something to bring to the surface home foster care does not have the children's interest at heart. It is a job only. The good ones are over worked, under paid. Told to just do your job don't make waves. Yes, I have had friends as case workers. They got burned out quickly because they were trying to take care of the children the correct way. I am so angry- children are abused in their homes, put in foster care, abused, neglected and sometimes killed. How about educating the parents, give them the proper guidance to keep their children plus the money you would normally pay the foster parents. I work with adults that have mental problems. 19 out of 18 were in foster care. What does that tell you.
If you would like to send me information or respond, I would be grateful. All I can say is "Guardian Angels please continue to watch over the foster children." Not too many true foster parents will.


Get Serious 08.Jan.2007 13:19


People need to stop focusing on the small stuff and really focus on the importnant stuff...
There is nothing wrong with becoming a foster parent and teaching the child or children how you believe in your religion. It's better then beating them.... And also there are ways of getting around DHS and that is to go directly to the judge who gave the child's parent's there sentence.... And the money situation even if DHS was only paying a foster parent $100.00 a month that is enough money to buy basic stuff like toothpaste and shampoo ect, and also after a few months you would have been able to buy the child like 5-10 outfits it's called going to Ross or walmart.... And I agree people who just want to stay home should not become foster parents because then there going to depend on the income that DHS provides as a source for there bill's and that's not what it's for... Not to mention that I dont see how people become foster parents for the income because I just finished all my foster parent paper work and you have to fill out this financial paper and it is required that you be able to pay your bill's with out a foster child paycheck...... So I think that we foster parents and future foster parents need to get involved and stay involved! It's for the children not ourselfs... And I praise anybody who was in foster care and is now a foster parent because you know what to do and what not to do and your feedback and advice is needed and wanted! God bless

foster care sucks the big one 19.Sep.2007 12:07

wendy mcd botown2@hotmail.com

I have had the experience of being in foster care for 10 years and now I am a proud mother of a beautiful 1 year old girl. I have been worried and anxious that I will not be the parent I should be; mostly because I haven't had the influences I should have. I know that my foster parents looked forward to the cheque I made them, but at the same time my own mother was still in the picture and should have done something! I have to say that working toward not blaming everyone for the mishaps life has thrown my way really helps, but at the same time I have to get the answers I'm craving. I have been working with my birth mom and trying to intergrate her into my daughters life at the same time, not an easy process. Good luck to wards of the court, you can make it if you try...and get the help you need.

To the a-holes who "want to help some kids that need a better home" 03.Dec.2007 13:26


Whoever posted the "so u all say that foster parents get paid" NO they do not get "paid"! It is a reimbursement for taking care of the foster child ie for rent, food shelter, clothing, extracurricular expenses. Not a dime should go to you yourself. It is to help with the additional load that having an extra member of the family. The following is what you SHOULD NOT do/nor see the check as:

1. DO NOT call it a paycheck (you are not getting paid, being a foster parent is not a part time job, you will not get paid and you will not get benefits!!)
2. DO NOT remodel your master bedroom with the extra money, and then we hear that your foster child was not allowed to go to the movies because there wasn't enough money!
3. DO NOT give your child second hand stuff, when you go out and buy designer household goods, clothes and other things.
4. DO NOT tell your foster child that they cannot do extracurricular activities because there isn't enough money.
5. DO NOT see the check as a "supplement to your income" it is NO WAY related to your income. The check is for the foster child and the foster child alone.
6. DO NOT rely on the reimbursement check as your monthly source of cash flow. IT IS FOR THE FOSTER CHILD.

And ANYONE who comes to our agency saying the following:

"does anyone no how much they pay in oregon, just curious to see what they pay people to help raise great kids.."

We know that you are a bullshitter. You are just trying to see how much you can milk the system. And no, we will not license you. We will come up with some kind of excuse to get rid of your lazy, parasitic ass.
We want people who want to be foster parents, and who might need assistance as far as rent and food, but we DON'T want people who want to be foster parents so they don't have to get a real job and who rely on their foster children as meal tickets. That is just ridiculous.

there are some good poeple out there 24.Jun.2011 12:44

Laura Davis

Me and my husband are going through the steps to become foster parents right now. We are NOT doing it for the money, we already are financially set. We are doing it because we have always had a passion to help out people/children that are in hard or unfortunate situations. I just wanted to say that not all foster parents are bad or greedy. Some of us just want to help!