Finding Foster Families: Q&A with Rep. Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass

Medford, Ore. - Rep. Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass) introduced a bill for the 2017 legislative session that would give a voice to foster parents.

His bill would create an ombudsman - an advocate for foster children - that would help foster parents get their voices heard in the Oregon Legislature. A problem Oregon faces, though, is a lack of foster parents.

"The lack of foster parents is really, in my opinion, about three different things: it's about recruiting, respecting and retaining," Stark said. "Recruitment-wise, there's a lot of things that we're doing throughout the state. Department of Human Services has been working with the every child campaign to go statewide over the next five years. The other is the respect component. That's where I was just saying a minute ago as far as the advocate for Foster parents, ombudsman - giving them a voice. That's what my bill is all about. ... We're taking a look at a couple different things. We talked with Department of Human Services and case workers about the trainings that they go through to make sure they are trained in a way to remind them of the important work of foster parents and remind them they're on a team with these foster parents."

Stark has introduced many bills regarding fostering children since he's been a Representative.

"I love children and as a foster and adoptive parent myself, I am passionate about children," Stark said. "I love children and I want to make sure we do an all-call to every single Oregonian that it is our responsibility together to take care of children."

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