With Oregon children in full-time school for the first time since the start of the pandemic, they spend much of their days with teachers and other education professionals.
Educators, who are mandatory flaggers of child abuse and neglect, have a unique opportunity to get to know the children and families they see on a daily basis. They are there to share and experience a child’s victories, strengths and challenges as they learn, grow and interact with their friends at school.
As mandatory filers, when educators have a reason to believe that a child is being abused or neglected, they are required by law to report that concern to the Oregon Children’s Helpline. by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
But what should an educator or other caring adult do when they see a child and their family who are in need or in crisis, but don’t believe a child is being abused or neglected?
Our data tells us that many people turn to the Oregon Child Abuse hotline when they want to help but don’t know how.
This year, about 53,000, or nearly half, calls to the Oregon Child Abuse hotline were not reports of suspected abuse or neglect. These are appeals from educators and other members of our community who recognize that a child and their family may need help because they are struggling with hunger, unstable housing, loss of life. employment, mental or physical health problems or other stressful situations.
Often these calls come to us because callers do not know where to turn for help.
There are many different resources and supports in our communities to help children and families meet their needs. Sometimes the best way to promote the well-being and safety of children and families is to help them connect to the resources they need.
Local support in your community
Dial 211 or text your postal code to 898-211 to connect to local food, housing, child care and other supports in your community.
The Family Nurturing Center offers programs and services to increase family strengths and well-being: Call 1-541-779-5242 or visit FamilyNurturingCenter.org.
ACCESS provides food, energy, and housing assistance in southern Oregon: call 1-541-779-6691 or visit AccessHelps.org.
United Community Action Network provides housing, utilities, food, health, child care and other supports: visit UCANcap.org.
The Maslow Project supports homeless children and families: call 1-541-608-6868 or visit MaslowProject.com.
Mental and behavioral health supports
Youthline: Call 1-877-968-8491, text teen2teen at 839863, chat at www.oregonyouthline.org
Lines for Life Suicide Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7) or text 273TALK at 839863 (Monday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Oregon Behavioral Health Helpline: Call 1-800-923-4357 (24/7)
Military Hotline: Call 1-888-457-4838 (24/7) or text MIL1 at 839863 (Monday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Resources to help educators provide mental health and social services to support children and families are available here.
Find a local pantry by visiting foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org.
Government programs and support
Find out about government programs and community resources for seniors and people with disabilities by contacting the Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or www.adrcoforegon.org.
Apply for government food, cash, child care assistance, and the Oregon Health Plan online at ONE.Oregon.gov or by calling 1-800-699-9075.
Of course, when an educator or other caring adult suspects that a child is being abused or neglected, that person should, and may be required by law, to report that concern to the hotline. Oregon Child Abuse by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
We all want Oregon’s children and families to be healthy, safe and happy. Child abuse and neglect is preventable when communities come together to support children and families, and there are many organizations, nonprofits and individuals who can help support families and prevent the crisis from happening. ‘a family does not become a safety issue for children.
Rebecca Jones Gaston is the Director of the Child Protection Division of the Oregon Department of Human Services, which is committed to supporting the safety, health and well-being of children and families in Oregon. . Learn more about their work.