While the foster care system is intended to serve and protect vulnerable children in their time of need, no system is perfect. It is admittedly a monumental task to manage such a vast organization, but the situation surpasses unfortunate and reaches unacceptable when you look at the abuse statistics involved.

According to the most recent Child Welfare Data Book issued by Oregon, more than 11,000 children utilized the foster care system in some way in 2018. Of this number, nearly 8,000 were involved in the program on a daily immersive level. Nearly 6,000 were placed in the family foster care model with which most Americans associate the system.

Abuse in the system

Reports of abuse in the foster care system in Oregon increased 4.4 percent over the prior year. During 2018, there were 12,585 unique child abuse victims. 76.9 percent remained in their homes after the reported abuse, and 23.1 percent were placed elsewhere following the incident.

Statistics of note:

  • Boys and girls had similar reported abuse numbers at 6,207 and 6,378 respectively
  • Black children were significantly more likely to be abused according to the disproportionality index, which accounts for the percentage of the population of that race in Oregon and the percentage of abuse victims
  • Neglect is the most common form of abuse at 43.4%
  • Threat of physical harm is the second most likely form at 39.9%

Source of abuse reports

The majority of reports—31 percent—are made by mandated reporters, which includes social worker and child-care providers. Schools come in second on the reporting charts at 21 percent. Third is police at 16 percent. Medical professionals reported 10 percent of the time. Parents report a little over five percent of the time. And the rest of the reports were classified as other.

Anyone can report abuse. If abuse is witnessed, there is a standard procedure for reporting. Swift reporting can make a life-altering difference for a child victim, altering the course of their future.