Department of Human Services: Agency Subdivisions

Governor's Advocacy Office

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E17, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6904
Fax: 503-378-6532
Contact: Zachary Gehringer, Administrator

Duties and Responsibilities: The Governor’s Advocacy Office handles client complaints related to DHS services. This office operates independently in the investigations performed and reports directly to the governor by providing a quarterly report on the status of the complaints. The team in this office works closely with field and central office staff, program staff, the Office of the Governor, key stakeholders and the DHS Director’s Office to successfully, equitably and respectfully reach a conclusion.

Aging and People with Disabilities Division

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E02, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-947-1100
Fax: 503-373-7823
Contact: Ashley Carson-Cottingham, Director

Duties and Responsibilities: The DHS Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) programs assist a diverse population of older adults and people with disabilities to achieve well-being through opportunities for community living, employment, family support and long-term services that promote independence, choice and dignity. The program’s goals are to ensure the safety and protection of the population whom APD serves, with a focus on prevention; facilitate awareness of and easy access to services; serve people in an equitable and cul­turally sensitive manner; promote high quality services by APD, its local partners and providers; and increase advocacy efforts to improve outcomes for APD consumers.

During the 2017–2019 biennium, APD expects to serve over 5,000 people age 60 and older through Oregon Project Independence; over 36,000 older adults and people with physical disabilities per month with long-term care services paid through Medicaid; over 450,000 older individuals with Older Americans Act services; and over 150,000 Oregonians with direct financial support services.

Oregonians needing information about these programs may contact the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) of Oregon. The ADRC is a collaborative public-private partnership that streamlines consumer access to the aging and disability service delivery system. The ADRC is free to Oregonians and provides information and assistance that empowers people to make informed decisions. Through trained options counselors, Oregonians can develop action plans to address long-term service and support needs that align with their preferences, financial situations, values and needs. During the last biennium, the ADRC received over 18,000 calls and 164,000 website inquiries. Employees from both APD local offices and Area Agencies on Aging throughout Oregon are responsible for providing direct client services and for determining eligibility of the aging and people with disabilities for medical programs provided through the Oregon Health Authority.

APD is impacted by demographic growth in the older adult population and is serving an increasingly diverse population. APD strives to identify disparities in outcomes for diverse populations and identify strategies to serve individuals in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Program

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E16, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-947-1189; Toll-free: 1-800-521-9615
Fax: 503-947-5184
Contact: Jeff Puterbaugh
Statutory Authority: ORS 185.230

Medicaid Long-Term Care Quality and Reimbursement Advisory Council

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E02, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-930-7293
Fax: 503-373-7823
Contact: Ann McQueen
Statutory Authority: ORS 410.500

Governor’s Commission on Senior Services

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E02, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6993
Fax: 503-373-7823
Contact: Max Brown
Statutory Authority: ORS 410.320

Child Welfare Programs

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E48, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-5600
Fax: 503-581-6198
Contact: Marilyn Jones, Director

Duties and Responsibilities: DHS Child Welfare Programs help improve family capacity to provide safe and permanent living environments for foster children of all ages. The programs’ goals are to achieve safe and equitable reductions in the number of children experiencing foster care. This is accomplished by protecting children from abuse and neglect and safely maintaining them in their homes whenever possible and appropriate; finding safe, permanent, stable homes for children when needed; ensuring children in foster care are well cared for, remain connected to family, siblings and support networks and receive appropriate services; providing culturally appropriate and equitable treatment for all children served; and practicing quality assurance and improvement for defining, measuring and improving outcomes for children and families.
Child Welfare Programs serve children and families when children are subject to abuse and neglect. Child protection workers respond to all reports of child abuse and neglect. If a child cannot be safe at home, a foster care placement is made. Child Welfare has a renewed focus and energy around keeping children safe and reducing its foster care population by implementing a system that prevents out-of-home placements and increases a timely and safe return to families.

The program areas within Child Welfare are Child Safety, Well-Being, Permanency, Program Design and Delivery and Federal Program Performance and Reporting.

In federal fiscal year 2015, 11,238 children spent at least one day in foster care, 69,972 reports of abuse and neglect were received, 32,682 reports were referred for investigation and 6,708 reports found abuse or neglect involving 10,402 victims. Of these, 46.6% of the victims were younger than six years old.

Child Welfare Advisory Committee

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E62, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6653
Fax: 503-945-6969
Contact: Gina Scott
Statutory Authority: ORS 418.005

Family Services Review Commission

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E48, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-947-6071
Fax: 503-373-7032
Contact: Kim Fredlund, Self-Sufficiency Programs Director
Statutory Authority: ORS 411.075

Independent Living Council

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E87, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6204
Fax: 503-945-8991
Contact: Shelly Emery
Statutory Authority: Exec. Order EO 94-12

Refugee Child Welfare Advisory 

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E48, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6739
Fax: 503-373-7032
Contact: Oscar Herrera
Statutory Authority: ORS 418.941

State of Oregon Rehabilitation Council

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E87, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6256; Toll-free: 1-877-277-0513
Fax: 503-945-8991
Contact: Rhonda Hunter
Statutory Authority: ORS 344.735

Developmental Disabilities Program

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E02, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6918; Toll-free:1-800-282-8096
Fax: 503-373-7823
Contact: Lilia Teninty, Director

Duties and Responsibilities: The DHS In­tellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Services program provides support across the lifespan to Oregonians. Its mission is to help individuals be fully engaged in life and, at the same time, address critical health and safety needs. The I/DD program strives to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families by promoting and providing services that are person-centered, self-directed, flexible, community inclusive, culturally appropriate, and supportive of the discovery and development of each individual's unique gifts, talents and abilities. This gives people with disabilities the opportunity to have fulfilling and meaningful lives and contribute to and enjoy their communities.

As a result of the state’s adoption of the Community First Choice Option, an increased number of children and adults with I/DD are able to access Medicaid-funded, community-based services to meet their needs, instead of having to meet crisis eligibility in order to access the 
appropriate level of support.

DHS I/DD programs are committed to providing an array of options that are properly distributed to ensure access through equitable and culturally competent services; being responsive to emerging consumer demands for individualized, self-di­rected services; ensuring the health and safety of individuals served; promoting maximum independence and engagement in homes and communities; and leveraging the use of available federal funding options.

Individuals eligible for services must have an intellectual or developmental disability that significantly impedes their ability to function independently. Intellectual and developmental disabilities include cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and other neurological conditions originating in the brain that occur during childhood. These disabilities are expected to be lifelong in their effect and have a signficant impact on the person’s ability to function independently. Some people with I/DD may also have significant medical or mental health needs. Most individuals with I/DD meet Medicaid financial eligibility requirements. The majority of I/DD program services are now administered under the Medicaid State Plan Community First Choice Option. Case management and employment services are available through traditional, home and community-based service waivers.

Oregon Disabilities Commission

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-6993
Fax: 503-373-7823
Contact: Max Brown, Administrative Support
Statutory Authority: ORS 185.130

Duties and Responsibilities: Initially formed in 1983 and re-formed in 2005 after a brief hiatus, the Oregon Disabilities Commission (ODC) is a governor-appointed commission within DHS. The commission is composed of 15 members broadly representative of major public and private agencies who are experienced in, or have demonstrated particular interest in, the needs of individuals with disabilities. A majority of the members are individuals with disabilities. The ODC acts as a coordinating link between and among public and private organizations serving individuals with 

The mission of ODC is to secure economic, social, legal and political justice for individuals with disabilities through systems change. To carry this out, the commission identifies and hears the concerns of individuals with disabilities and uses the information to prioritize public policy issues which should be addressed; publicizes the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities as they relate to the full achievement of economic, social, legal and political equity; and educates and advises the DHS, governor, Legislature and appropriate state agency administrators on how public policy can be improved to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E48, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-5600
Fax: 503-373-7032
Contact: Kim Fredlund, Director

Duties and Responsibilities: The mission of Self-Sufficiency Programs (SSP) is to meet the emotional and material needs of program participants and ensure that every family has an educational or career pathway to economic security. SSP is designed to provide low-income Oregonians with services to create stability and prepare participants for employment so they are equipped to work their way out of poverty. The programs emphasize the safety and healthy development of children and often serve to prevent abuse or neglect that may lead to out-of-home placement in the more expensive foster care program. Oregonians access SSP services when they are in need and have no other alternatives. Participants access services through a network of local offices in every county.

SSP works to achieve its mission by focusing on four foundational operating principles: family engagement, economic stability, collective impact, and integrity and stewardship. The services offered through SSP are Employment Related Day Care, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), TANF-related programs such as the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills program and Family Support and Connections, Temporary Assistance for Domestic Violence Survivors, Refugee Program, Youth Services Program and Program Design and Delivery.

Challenges from the Great Recession linger, and SSP caseloads continue to be significantly higher than they were prior to the recession. Many SSP participants are working but have lower wages or fewer hours than they did prior to the recession and don’t earn enough to make ends meet on their own. There continues to be an uneven distribution of poverty based on factors such as geography, race, ethnicity and age. In Oregon, poverty rates in rural counties tend to be higher than urban areas.

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Address: 500 Summer St. NE, E87, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-945-5880
Fax: 503-947-5025
Contact: Trina Lee, Director
Statutory Authority: ORS 344.510–344.630

Duties and Responsibilities: The mission of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) is to assist Oregonians with disabilities to achieve and maintain employment and independence. VR provides a variety of services, such as helping youth with disabilities transition to jobs as they become adults, helping employers realize the benefit of employing people with disabilities and partnering with other state and local organizations that coordinate employment and workforce programs. A total of 316,222 working-age Oregonians experience a disability, but only 36% are employed. Employment helps people with disabilities progress towards self-sufficiency, become involved in their communities and live more engaged and satisfying lives.

All working-age Oregonians who experience a disability and are legally entitled to work are potentially eligible for VR services. Individuals who experience a medical, cognitive or psychiatric diagnosis that results in a functional impediment to employment are typically eligible for services. Approximately 95% of all eligible clients currently served by VR are people with significant disabilities. These individuals experience multiple functional impediments requiring several services provided over an extended period of time. VR has counselors with expertise in the areas of intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), deafness and hearing impairments, mental health, motivational intervention, spinal injury and traumatic brain injury.

VR services are provided by rehabilitation counselors and support staff who deliver direct client services through 34 field offices and multiple, single-employee, stations in WorkSource Oregon Centers and other human services agencies across the state. As the demographics in Oregon are changing, VR is adapting in order to provide culturally-specific services to Oregonians and help diversify the state’s workforce.

In federal fiscal year 2015, VR helped 15,378 individuals and obtained 2,723 employment outcomes, including 454 individuals with (I/DD) and 262 with psychiatric disabilities who obtained jobs. Of those 454 individuals with I/DD, 239 are maintaining their jobs through supported employment services. In addition, VR contracts with 39 school districts and consortia on behalf of 115 schools to provide services for approximately 1,300 students each year.

Other Group

Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities

Address: 540 24th St. NE, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-881-9529
Fax: 503-945-9947
Contact: Jaime Daignault, Executive Director
Statutory Authority: 42 USC 15001

Duties and Responsibilities: The Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities is made up of self-advocates, family members, representatives of advocacy organizations and community organizations that provide services and supports to people with developmental disabilities. Counsel members also include representatives of state agencies that receive federal funding on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, and are appointed by the governor to serve up to two consecutive four-year terms.

Council members work together to determine goals and objectives in the five-year state plan, allocate funds to state plan activities and review the council’s progress annually. The council is supported by seven full-time staff who are charged with implementing the state plan.

The council’s mission is to advance social and policy change so people with developmental disabilities, their families and communities may live, work, play and learn together. The council’s vision is that all communities welcome and value people with disabilities and their families.