The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) has agreed to significant reforms in the state's foster care system as part of a settlement in a class action lawsuit. These reforms will be overseen by a neutral expert and aim to reduce the number of children in foster care while improving the quality of placements.

The agreement follows five years of legal proceedings. DHS asserts that the $18 million spent was justified, arguing that they were already implementing improvements and that the expenditure was cost-effective compared to other states that have spent much more on monitors. The state has seen a decrease in children entering foster care and an increase in placements with relatives, emphasizing the importance of keeping families together whenever possible.

Despite these improvements, DHS acknowledges the need for further enhancements, particularly in supporting families with complex needs and ensuring the safety of children in foster care. The department plans to implement a continuous quality improvement program to identify and address ongoing issues.

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