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Oregon foster care system targeted in class action lawsuit

A federal class action lawsuit alleges that Oregon's foster care system has failed to shield the children in its care from abuse and further neglect.

Posted: Apr 16, 2019 11:52 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A federal class action lawsuit alleges that Oregon's foster care system has failed to shield the children in its care from abuse and further neglect.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, says Oregon's Department of Human Services violated federal and state law by not providing foster kids with permanent, long-term foster homes. The agency has struggled to house its 7,500 foster children and often has no choice but to house children in hotels, homeless shelters and refurbished jail cells.

The case is one of the most expansive complaints brought against DHS. The lawyers said they hope the federal court can compel DHS to provide more adequate services.

DHS has not responded to request for comment. The agency's director told lawmakers last week he recognizes the agency has made mistakes, but said those individual slip-ups "don't constitute a system that is broken."

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