PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to all 50 governors about the for-profit foster care industry throughout the US.
Wyden wrote the letter after a story by Buzzfeed reporter Aram Roston, who said the for-profit foster care companies vary in their operation from state to state.
That’s a problem when it comes to regulations and tracking standards of care.
“A foster care provider is contracted or subcontracted by the state and then paid by the state to recruit foster parents, to train foster parents and to oversee foster parents,” Roston told KOIN 6 News.
He found several cases of abuse and death of children who were place in homes through for-profit companies.
“In many ways,” he said, “foster care has become a business.”
Wyden decided to act because, he said, foster children are among the most vulnerable.
“It is time to get on top of this issue from one end of the country to another,” the senator told KOIN 6 News. “Private for-profit foster care is growing and there is no question in my mind that it is time for some real accountability.”
In an effort to make sure the children are safe and cared for he wrote the letter to each governor, asking for answers to how they run their foster care programs.
Oregon has at least one for-profit foster care company with at least four facilities in the state.
The office of Governor Kate Brown said they’re working with DHS now and will have more information at a later date.