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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.

Bill Would Give Foster Youth The Ability To Switch Case Workers

Chris Phan
Flickr -

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would let children age 12 and older in foster care switch case workers. The bill would require the Oregon Department of Human Services to assign the child a new case worker within 15 days of the request.

"Sometimes a conflict arises between a case worker and a youth,” said Corvallis Democratic Senator Sara Gelser, one of the bill’s sponsons. “They're not getting along, the youth has difficulty getting in touch with or communicating with that case worker. And what the bill intends to do is to assure that the youth knows how to access help in that situation."

Gelser acknowledged that the agency is short on case workers and that the intent is not for youth to constantly switch. The bill would also allow older teens in foster care to access their case file.

The measure would require the Department of Human Services to notify foster youth of their right to switch case workers and obtain their case file.