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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Foster Parent Recruitment Initiative To Expand Statewide In Oregon

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

A Portland program meant to recruit more foster parents in Oregon is expanding statewide.

In Portland, it's called "Embrace Oregon" but it will be known across the state as "Every Child." It's an outreach effort sponsored by non-profits and the Oregon Department of Human Services to combat a shortage of foster homes that's sometimes forced kids to be put up in hotels or sleep in state office buildings.

Shane Witham and his wife have been foster parents around five years.

"I'm super excited for Every Child to get the traction in Marion County and in Oregon to have more families so that every kid is not crammed into a house and so that there's enough resource to go around,” Witham said.

Leaders of Every Child stress that the state needs more than foster parents to make the system work. People can also help by donating supplies for kids in foster care, serving as short-term caregivers so foster parents can have a break, and making care packages for children who are awaiting placement.