MEDFORD, Ore. -- Governor Kate Brown has declared May National Foster Care Month. As part of her proclamation she made specific points on how housing instability has contributed to the amount of children in foster care.
Research from the Department of Human Services 2017 report reveals foster care has increased 40 percent over the last two years due to inadequate housing. It also found that housing instability played a factor in 17 percent of the removals of children from their family. That means 200 more children were affected over the last two years.
NewsWatch 12 Spoke with the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, or IVCanDO, which helps families dealing with housing instability in Josephine County. The groups says its fighting misconceptions about the people that need help with affordable housing.
"Your friendly neighborhood waitress may well be working three jobs and living in a car with her child," said IVCanDO Coordinator Kate Dwyer. "It doesn't matter how hard she works if there isn't a house she can afford to get into."
Dwyer has spent significant time with families living in tents, cars, of shelters around the Illinois Valley. She advocates for parents who are struggling with housing to seek help through the school district.
“If your family is housing unstable, if you are living on somebody’s couch, living in your car, you need to tell your student’s public school about it," said Dwyer. "Your student is protected by law and the schools want to help. Not just because it’s the law but because they really do care about your child.”
To read more about the DHS's report on foster care, click here.