Join us Sunday, July 12th at 4:30 p.m. for The Early Link Podcast: Season 1, Episode 23, featuring host Rafael Otto. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at PRP.fm.

In this week’s episode, host Rafael Otto talks with Jax Richards, the president and founder of Safeguard Youth, about Oregon’s child welfare system.

Guest

Jax Richards is an economics and social public policy student at Oregon State University. In 2019 he started Safeguard Youth with the mission to provide a platform for foster youth and survivors of child abuse to advocate for a higher quality child welfare system.  

Background

In April, A Better Childhood, a national advocacy group, and Disability Rights Oregon filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Human Services, alleging the agency revictimizes children in its foster care system and has failed to address documented problems for at least a decade.

The lawsuit paints a picture of a system that, through its dysfunction, further traumatizes children who were taken from their families on the premise that the state would better care for them. There are 10 plaintiffs with stories ranging from being forced to stay in refurbished jail cells, to being drugged to gain compliance without consent.

Since 2006, the state has paid $39 million in legal settlements over allegations of abuse and neglect. 

Additional Resources

Horrific failures of Oregon foster care system called out in new federal lawsuit

Tensions flare at explosive hearing over Oregon foster care

Oregon officials want to seal off much of federal child welfare lawsuit from public view

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