foster care

Oregon Governor Kate Brown wants an independent review of the state's foster care system. It comes after the Willamette Week newspaper reported that the Oregon Department of Human Services ignored warning signs at a prominent foster care provider in Portland.

In this Sept. 10, 2014 file photo, detained immigrant children line up in the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas. About 70 children from the border have been placed with foster families in Washington state.
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Sara, 20, is a Mexican student in Des Moines, Washington, a half hour south of Seattle. She wears her hair in two braids, tucked under her black knit hat. White ear buds hang from her collar. She’s friendly, but far from talkative.

We meet in a small meeting room at Highline Community College, where she is taking a GED-prep class. She looks out the window as she recalls her first days in the U.S., at an immigration holding shelter in California. 

Kim Malcolm talks with Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network about how Washington state is trying to reduce the number of teens who run away from foster homes.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Some parents don’t know how to parent.

When their lack of parenting skills put the child in danger, that’s when the state comes knocking – to take their children away. Nearly 7,000 kids in Washington state were placed in foster care last year.

Washington is under court order to keep foster youth from running away. So the state now has a team of “locators”--social workers whose job it is to find runaways and bring them back.

Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services now has a team of social workers whose sole job is to find foster youth who run away.

From Foster Care To Freshman Year

Jan 6, 2015

By the time she aged out of foster care, Jasmine Uqdah had spent nearly half her life in the system. On a summer day in 2008, Uqdah grabbed her duffel bag and two small garbage bags, and she stuffed everything she owned inside.

It wasn't much — just some clothes and a few stuffed animals. She said her goodbyes to her foster family in Detroit and moved out. She was 18 years old.

The agency that oversees child welfare in Washington wants to hire nearly 100 more child protection workers.

A judge in Bellingham Monday ordered the state of Washington to do more to locate foster children who run away.

Children with the biggest needs face the biggest gaps in services, according to a new report about children adopted from the state's foster care system.

The findings were released Monday by the Washington state auditor's office.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds sits down with Jim Theofelis, founder and executive director of the Mockingbird Society, and 21-year-old Deontae Cruz who participated in the original extended foster care pilot program.

They spoke about the importance of allowing young adults in foster care to remain in the system until age 21 — an issue state legislators will address this session.

Marcie Sillman talks to Slate contributor Kathryn Joyce about her investigative piece on Hana Williams, an adopted child from Ethiopia who died after suffering child abuse by her adopted parents, Larry and Carri Williams. One question still remains in the case: how she and her brother were subjected to so much abuse without any intervention.

Investigate West/Mike Kane

When Roel Williams was 18, he couldn’t wait to leave foster care.

“I went to a foster home in the Central District, which was run by a reverend,” he recalled. “He told me I had to fight one of the other foster children to stay in that placement. That’s when reality hit me.”

Teenage boy
Flickr photo/James Evans

Turning 18 marks a form of adulthood at least, bringing new independence and legal rights. For a foster child in Washington state, turning 18 can also mean the end of a stable home life. InvestigateWest reporter Claudia Rowe joins us with the story of one young woman’s experience “aging out” of foster care, and what state government might do to help.