The Oregon Department of Human Services has finally released documents detailing more than a decade of complaints and allegations involving the now-defunct Portland foster care provider Give Us This Day.
DHS, which was responsible for funding and regulating Give Us This Day, previously refused to provide such information to WW, claiming allegations of abuse and the investigations into such allegations were not a public record.
The agency's position shifted after a series of stories by WW and other media about Give Us This Day and after Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), the chair of the Senate Human Services Committee, filed a series of public records requests of her own.
The 40 pages of documents released today today show years of allegations and complaints, involving claims of physical abuse; sexual assault; various kinds of violence; lack of food; filthy living conditions; staff lacking training but possessing criminal records and a litany of other problems.
Some of the allegations were sustained by investigators. Many were not, although the notable characteristic is how numerous and consistent the complaints have been since 2001.
As long ago as May 2005, for instance, state officials, the Portland Police Bureau and Give Us This Day met because police service at Give Us This Day facilities and foster homes were so prevalent that DHS said calls to the police were reaching a "public nuisance" level. (That continued. Between 2005 and 2015, records show, police responded to Give Us This Day facilities more than 1,000 times).
Give Us This Day promised to do better but in August 2005, the state responded to a complaint that a Give Us This Day staff member "with a serious criminal history, including sex offending, compelling prostitution of a minor, rape and possession of a weapon."
Give Us This Day fired that employee but overall problems continued. In an October 2005 letter, DHS issued Give Us This Day a stern warning "due the the high number of complaints and concerns received (over 30 in less than 12 months) regarding treatment of children in Give Us Day."
The Oregon Department of Justice finally forced Give Us This Day to cease operations last October, after finding the organization wasted or diverted more than $2 million.
The Senate Human Services Committee will hold its third hearing on DHS' handling of Give Us This Day Thursday morning at 8 am.