Oregon Department of Human Services Director's Message
Nov. 12, 2010 DHS Director's messages on the web
To: All DHS and OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

Local health and human services

"All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity."
~Robert F. Kennedy

Today I had the pleasure of speaking before the Eugene City Club about the coming challenges to our health and human services system.

While preparing for this speech I learned a lot about some of the great work being done by Eugene-area providers and I'd like to share that with you today.

First, there is Full Access. This non-profit helps adults with developmental disabilities become independent, providing services in five Oregon counties: Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake and Lane. It was established in 2001 through the collaborative efforts of people with disabilities, advocates, providers, and mental health and developmental disability personnel. Full Access serves about 800 clients. Last month Full Access received a major recognition -- it was awarded first place as the top medium-sized nonprofit to work for in Oregon.

That is a high honor and shows that not only can you do good work taking care of people but you can do it by creating a positive environment and being good stewards of the public dollar.

And then there is the Family Reunion Project run by Willamette Family, Inc.

This project keeps families together by providing residential treatment for parents with addiction after they come in contact with the child welfare system. Instead of being sent to foster care, kids are able to live with their parents while the adults are getting the treatment they need for drug or alcohol dependency.

During treatment, mothers and children can live safely together with all the support they need, including 24-7 staffing, parenting education and health care.

It has been hugely successful. Since January 2007, the Family Reunion Project has served more than 155 families and has a reunification rate of more than 80 percent. Without this kind of support only about half of families stay united.

Similar programs are happening across the state. In the past three years, some 900 children left or avoided foster care and families have stayed united... with an estimated net savings to the state of $1.7 million per month.

There is also the 100% Access Healthcare Initiative through United Way of Lane County. This program helps provide care to low-income uninsured workers by combining local resources and sharing responsibility among community partners.

It was wonderful to be in Lane County today and share in the success of these local partners in delivering care. Next week I will share the stories of some of the same kinds of innovation being done by our staff right here at DHS and OHA.

DHS on the web