BEND, OR -- A local partnership raising awareness of childhood trauma is investing more than an half million dollars in Central Oregon's Foster care program. TRACEs, which stands for Trauma, Resilience, and adverse Childhood Experiences is contributing $558,000 to mentoring, family stabilization strategies, skill building, and reunification efforts.
Executive Director Katie McClure says TRACEs Central Oregon works to keep families safe, together, "No family wants their kid taken away. No kid wants to be removed from their family. Families love their children. What, as a community, we ought to be doing is investing in supporting the needs of families so that we know how to handle the stressful times, so that we have support, and respite, and we're trained in the techniques we need to be for parenting."
McClure tells KBND News this new investment will help achieve TRACEs' vision for three years, while they also work to get more for the future, "The full investment that we've proposed is $1.6 Million, and the hope is that we can seed that, and then while we're doing that three years of work, we move upstream and do the same kind of thing to keep kids out of the system."
The State of Oregon is under pressure to improve the state's foster care system, and McClure believes the money will help children who have experienced trauma, "If we all saw them as kids who've had a lot happen to them in their lives, and we can all circle around them and care, and see them and love them, we'll see a lot of changes." Bend State Representative Cheri Helt called the investment crucial, and said she appreciates the collaborative approach to helping Central Oregon's children.
TRACEs plans to allocate funding from a variety of sources including United Way, Central Oregon Health Council, Better Together and more. The investments in regional foster care improvements include:
- JBarJ Kindred Connections: Supporting biological families in times of need—$30,000
- Every Child: Culturally appropriate foster family recruitment, training, and retention supports—$80,000
- Family Resource Center: Culturally appropriate foster family recruitment, training, and retention supports—$57,000
- CASA: Culturally appropriate CASA for every child—$284,000 initial investment
- CASA: Finding biological family to provide support—$58,000
- JBarJ/Big Brothers Big Sisters: Providing mentors to children and youth in care—$24,000
- JBarJ Independent Living Program: Ensure basic access, skills, and confidence in the transition to independent living—$25,000