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Foster care advocates worry abuse and neglect will go unreported with many Oregon schools closed this fall

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    PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — With many schools closed, at least until November, local child and foster care advocates worry abuse and neglect will go unreported this fall.

“So right now, there’s no one that has eyes on these kids,” said Allie Roth. “So, we’re concerned.”

Roth is the president and founder of With Love, a Portland-area nonprofit that supports foster parents of young kids with things like clothes, supplies and resources.

She said mandatory child abuse calls to DHS are down and she worries that will continue with online schooling.

“First off, I’m a teacher by trade so I know how important those mandatory reporters are,” said Roth. “So, mandatory reporters are like counselors, teachers, coaches that have eyes on these kids.”

Roth worries kids in need also won’t have a steady schedule.

“There’s these kids that are just gonna slip through the cracks, that we can’t see and having that routine for some of these kids, going to school and having lunch at school and having those relationships are really life giving to them,” she said.

She said some kids are missing out on resources only schools can offer, too.

“When kids go to school, a lot of times they have access to various things like counselors or various things that aren’t there as much right now for that extra support,” said Roth.

Finally, Roth said like parents everywhere, foster parents are also feeling the pressures of remote learning.

“Some parents said, ‘hey, I’ll be a foster parent but I need them to be school aged because I’m working,'” said Roth. “Well now all of a sudden they’re like ‘oh my goodness, I’m a working parent and now I have to do the teaching on top of that.’”

“And on top of that you might have lawyer visits, or bio parent visits or court cases,” she said. “There’s just so many demands on foster parents, this is just one more they need to show up for.”

Roth said when Oregon does fully open back up, there could be a surge of kids going into foster care.

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