PORTLAND — An interstate agreement signed Monday will have a lasting positive effect on local foster children, officials said.
The agreement, the first of its kind between Washington and Oregon, gives social workers the ability to cut through layers of bureaucratic statutes and expedite the process of placing a child from one state with a relative who lives in the other state. The process could take as little as one week.
The agreement, effective Oct. 1, applies to children from Clark and Cowlitz counties in Washington and Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon.
Approximately 150 children are expected to be affected each year.
“All of us knows someone who travels across the Washington-Oregon border every day, and children are no exception,” said Erinn Kelley-Siel, an assistant director with the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Currently, when the state temporarily takes a child away from a parent who’s judged to be unfit, it can take 60 to 90 days to place a child with an approved relative who lives in a different state.