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Report: Oregon Kids Facing Some Major Hurdles

July 25, 2007

This year's "Kids Count" report, released today, shows Oregon has lots of room for improvement. The report says Oregon continues to have the nation's lowest rate of low-birth weight babies, and its infant mortality rate is among the lowest. But Oregon's biggest problems are high rates of child and family poverty and children in foster care. Cathy Kauffman with Children First for Oregon says the number of kids who are abused and neglected and the number heading into foster care increases every year.

"If we really want to do what's best for children and families in our state, we need to make smarter investments at preventing abuse and at giving families what they need to heal and stay together rather than putting children in the foster care system."

Kauffman points out that the Legislature made some improvements this session, including renewed investments in substance abuse treatment for parents, and allowing kids who need to be removed from homes to be placed with other family members. She notes that's a big concern.

"The number of children in foster care and the number of children who are abused and neglected in any given year is an ever increasing problem for Oregon. We have seen our rates go up and up every year."

The report is available online at www.kidscount.org/2007/databook.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR