Bill passes to help child victims of abuse and neglect

Jason Conger_thb

Rep. Jason Conger

SALEM, OR – The Oregon House voted unanimously this week to pass HB 3363, a bill to help Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) serve and protect children in dependency hearings.

“CASA helps some of Oregon’s most vulnerable children and we need to make sure the tools are there to support the program.” said Rep. Jason Conger (R – Bend), who co-sponsored HB 3363. “This legislation will assist in getting the nearly 5,100 children CASA serves through the judicial system as quickly and safely as possible.”

HB 3363 requires the Oregon Department of Human Services to provide to all parties in a dependency matter the case plan or the modification of the case plan for a child before a court on an abuse and neglect matter and allows CASA to obtain dependency court records. The bill also creates the 11 member Work Group on Juvenile Court Dependency Proceedings to examine Oregon’s juvenile court dependency system and identify impediments to timely resolution of dependency proceedings.

A visit from Central Oregon CASA volunteers and staff early in 2013 prompted Rep. Conger to throw his support behind the bill.

“We appreciate Rep. Conger’s sponsorship of HB 3363A.  This bill will ensure that the Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteers can effectively work to get children out of our overburdened child welfare system as quickly and as safely as possible by giving CASA volunteers the information they need and by addressing unnecessary delays in the process,” said Pam Fortier, Executive Director of CASA of Central Oregon and President of the Oregon Network. “Thank you, Rep. Conger, for being a champion for children.”

“I am deeply grateful for all the work by CASA and CASA’s volunteers to shepherd neglected and abused children through Oregon’s judicial system,” added Rep. Conger. “I hope that this bill will provide a little bit of extra help for these children and that the workgroup’s proposals will lead to a more efficient and safe judicial process for them.”