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State exec outlines drive to fix foster care gaps

The 7,800 Oregon children in foster care likely never heard of Marilyn Jones but the fate of each one rests in her hands.

She’s responsible to see they get to school, receive medical care, and are safe. Her duty is to protect them from dangerous or abusive adults. And she is charged with fixing families so kids can move out of foster homes and back in with parents.

Jones is the child welfare program director in the state Department of Human Services. She is the state’s lead executive when it comes to caring for Oregon’s children.

Last October, she took charge of a bureaucracy that reaches into every corner of Oregon, including Malheur County. She knows child welfare inside and out. She served as the district manager in Baker City, but also was an adoptive and foster . . .