Stories of children in foster care

 

Warning: These stories contain graphic content that might be difficult for some people to read.

The ten children who appear as named plaintiffs in the lawsuit include:

Wyatt B. and Noah F. are three-year-old and 18-month-old siblings who’ve been cycled through 12-14 homes in approximately a one month period, and faced life threatening mix-ups of medications, which the DHS supervisor described as “total goof-up.” Wyatt and Noah are now separated and experiencing explosive fits, tantrums and night terrors.

Kylie R., a seven-year-old girl had five placements in her first two months of foster care, and Alec R, her eight-year old brother, had four. One foster parent wasn’t given the children’s last name so couldn’t get Kylie treatment when she seemed ready to hurt herself. The children had visible lice crawling on their heads that wasn’t treated for six weeks because the foster parents were not provided with the children’s Oregon Health Plan numbers, and Kylie’s head eventually had to be shaved.

Unique L., a nine-year-old, rotated through multiple placements and, when a therapeutic bed could not be found, was returned to her mother who couldn’t  care for her. At one point, Unique walked into the street yelling she did not want to live and tried multiple times to walk into traffic. She has now spent months in a Montana institution, sometimes placed in seclusion and medicated, with no plan or timeline to bring her back to Oregon.

Simon S., a 13-year-old, has been under DHS supervision and care for nearly five years. He was returned to his parents despite having accused his father of physically abusing him, and continued to have contact with a relative in school who may also have sexually abused him. To ward off his accuser, Simon came to class with feces in his pants. Placed in a therapeutic treatment center designed for 30-90-day stays, Simon remained there 15 months because DHS failed to find a therapeutic foster home for him.

Ruth T., a 15-year-old, was placed in foster care after growing up in a chaotic household where she was probably sexually abused and witnessed her mother die of an overdose. With untreated emotional problems, she was sent to different facilities but her lawyer was ultimately told “DHS has NO one and NO place at this moment who will agree to care for her.” She is currently in a residential facility in Iowa where her care costs DHS $120,450 a year.

Naomi B., is 16 years old and in DHS custody since November 2018 when she threatened suicide.  DHS was unable to find a suitable placement, so she was placed in Jackson Street homeless youth  shelter and then in Youth Inspiration Program, a slightly refurbished delinquency facility. She is now back at the Jackson Street homeless shelter, for the seventh time, after being removed from Youth Inspiration Program, and DHS has no other plan for her.

Norman N., is 17 years old and has been in and out of DHS custory since 2011, growing up in Oregon’s foster care system in a revolving door of at least 50 placements due to DHS’s failure to provide services to meet his mental and behavioral health needs. He has experienced trauma, abuse, and neglect in the system which has resulted in anger issues. He is Native American and is now at St. Mary’s, where he cannot observe his native heritage. Despite years in the system, he has not been prepared for living independently for when he ages out of the foster care system.

Bernard C., is a 15-year-old transgender youth who entered foster care at age three, left and then re-entered at age 10 with significant trauma causing flashbacks and nightmares, which DHS has failed to address. He’s been in 12-15 foster homes and seven facilities in the last five years. Despite Bernard identifying as male, DHS placed him in all-girls facility. He is now in a minimally refurbished juvenile detention center, secured in what was once a cell, without proper medication, therapy, or supports.

Wyatt B. v Brown requests that the court permanently prohibit DHS from subjecting the children in the general class and the three sub-classes to further harm and from threatening their safety and well-being through practices that violate their rights.  On behalf of these children, the court is being asked to order appropriate remedial relief to ensure that defendants comply with the law and provide children with legally mandated services.

,