Oregon is well-known for its liberal social policies. However, the state is notorious for taking children away from parents and keeping children in foster care. In 1985, the rate at which the state took children away was 35% percent above the national average, and the rate at which children remained in foster care was 70% above the national average. This has not changed much in the past few decades. In 2016, it was found that children were kept in foster care at a rate of 63% above the national average, and taken away from their families at a rate of 30% above the national average.
Many times, parents are accused of neglecting their children. Poverty is frequently mistaken for neglect, and some cases lie on the spectrum of being between neglect and poverty. Sometimes, children are taken away for reasons that are very questionable and arguably unfair, such as the perceived IQ parents. What constitutes as “child abuse” can be very subjective.
The state likes to make excuses for why so many children are being taken away from their families and put into foster care. One excuse is the fact that the opiate/opioid epidemic has gripped communities. However, even before drugs ravaged through communities, disproportionately large numbers of children were still being taken away from their families. So, the drug epidemic is not a valid excuse.
Instead of ripping children from their families and placing them in precarious foster homes where they may actually get abused, help should be offered to families and as much effort as possible must be put into keeping families together. In Alabama, a lot of effort is put into keeping children with their families as much as possible, which has led to situations where children have been safer. Two massive studies in Oregon concluded that children who stay in their homes fare a lot better than children who live in abusive foster homes. In studies conducted in Washington and Oregon, it was found that one quarter or one third of foster homes are abusive.
If a child’s parents are drug addicts, the parents should receive help and the child should stay with them. Studies have shown that children who were born with cocaine in their bodies did a lot better when they lived with caring parents—as opposed to children with cocaine in their bodies who were sent to foster care.