DHS inaction could soon become a crime

SB 1515 is expected to be signed any week now

After a decade of silence, state leaders are opening up about thousands of cases of neglect and abuse with the Department of Human Services. (KOIN)
The sign on the DHS building. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign a bill that would change the way the Department of Human Services operates.

State Senator Sara Gelser will chair an oversight hearing into how DHS handled the allegations against Give Us This Day. (KOIN)
State Senator Sara Gelser will chair an oversight hearing into how DHS handled the allegations against Give Us This Day. (KOIN)

A KOIN 6 investigation showed that for at least a decade, former leaders at DHS knew about cases of abuse and neglect among foster children and — for the most part — did nothing about it. Once Senate Bill 1515 is signed, that will become a crime.

“The bill would make it a criminal violation, a criminal misconduct if, for instance, the Director of the Department of Human Services, knew that children were unsafe in a facility and the Director failed to take action,” says State Senator Sara Gelser, who sponsored the bill. “The bill gives the department the authority to revoke licenses when kids aren’t safe or to restrict admissions early if there’s a temporary problem that’s putting kids at risk.”

The bill passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously and is headed to Governor Brown’s desk.

Since Clyde Saiki, the interim DHS Director, was appointed, one foster care facility has shut down and another was sent a letter to revoke its license.

"I cannot guarantee that every single child is safe," DHS Interim Director Clyde Saiki said. (KOIN)
“I cannot guarantee that every single child is safe,” DHS Interim Director Clyde Saiki said. (KOIN)

Comments are closed.