The 2018 legislature was able to maintain the Oregon Health Plan expansion population and to make some important investments in human services that benefit Oregonians with disabilities.
Disability Rights Oregon’s major budget goal was to protect children with intellectual disabilities from losing funding for their in-home supports. Thanks to the work of advocates and self-advocates in the Capitol, this goal was accomplished. Here are some other key gains:
- $25.5 million for child welfare/foster care – $13.2 million for 186 new positions within the Department of Human Services (caseworkers, case aides, office support staff, and recruitment specialists), $9.8 million designated for child care stipends for foster parents, and $2.5 million placed in reserve to continue to improve child safety, stabilize the workforce, and help foster families.
- $4.3 million dedicated to increasing the efficiency of background checks to speed up the approval of potential foster parents and other providers.
- $1.3 million to add two more counties to the Parent Child Representation pilot program to improve the quality of legal representation for children and parents in juvenile dependency cases.
- $438,000 for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), who support foster children in the courts.
- $750,000 to support foster parents through respite care and training foster parent mentors.
- $30 million set aside to address any unanticipated needs in foster care, senior services, and other programs for the most vulnerable.
Housing and Homelessness
- $60 million more in ongoing funding every biennium for homeless services and prevention, developing and preserving affordable housing, and providing homeownership opportunities for low to moderate income families.
- $5.2 million for emergency winter housing and shelter.
- $2.0 million for communities around the state to study their housing needs and develop plans to address the housing crisis locally.
Community and Mental Health
- $2.2 million to improve reimbursement rates for residential mental health services across the state.
- Over $2 million to tackle the opioid crisis and direction to the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to create a strategic plan to combat addiction and promote recovery.
- Nearly $1 million to improve student access to school-based mental health services.
- Nearly $1 million to improve access to care for adults in psychiatric crisis.
- $5 million for two facilities to help improve access to secure adolescent inpatient mental health care and inpatient and outpatient addiction services.
- $400,000 in budget authority to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to train first responders in mental health and crisis intervention.