Foster Care — Doug and Margaret Buyserie reach resolution in their case with Oregon DHS

The Oregon Department of Human Services has reached a resolution with a St. Paul couple, Doug and Margaret Buyserie, from whose care two girls (sisters, ages 7 and 4 at the time) were abruptly taken by DHS last year.

by: FILE PHOTO - Resolved -- Margaret and Doug Buyserie withdrew their request for a hearing after DHS pulled its order to revoke their foster care license.

Months later, the Buyseries were issued a formal revocation of their foster-parent licensure, and they applied for a hearing before a judge to contest the decision. However, the Buyseries said DHS has recently reversed course in their case, withdrawing the “final order” that would have prevented them from ever being foster parents with the department again.

Instead, the Buyseries will only be prohibited from foster or respite care with DHS branch offices until September 2015. The decision prompted the Buyseries to recind their own request for a hearing to discuss the case.

“There was no benefit to going through the hearing. It would have been a waste of time,” said Margaret Buyserie, explaining that the main thing she and her husband would have sought at the hearing was the retraction of the final order anyway, and that was accomplished by DHS’ recent decision.

The Buyseries’ dream of being foster parents was put on hold Sept. 14, 2012, when DHS removed the two young girls from the St. Paul family’s care for reasons that still are not entirely clear. DHS officials have refused to discuss the specifics of the case, citing state law, though their formal revocation in January alleged that the couple had failed to meet several foster parent criteria, including exercising sound judgment, maintaining safe and healthy home conditions, participating in the DHS home study process, supporting the department’s efforts to maintain relationships with the children’s birth family and following through with prescribed services and activity plans.

However, the Buyseries disputed these charges, calling the letter of revocation a mix of “truths, half-truths, lies and omissions.” They alleged that DHS had a different reason for removing the children from their care.

“They didn’t like that we were advocating for the girls,” Doug Buyserie said in a previous interview.

He said he and his wife clashed with the department over the scheduling of visits between the girls and their parents. The Buyseries had asked that the visits be coordinated with the girls’ school schedule, but instead, a second visit was added to the school week, they claimed.

Though the department has withdrawn its final order, the Buyseries are still prohibited from contact with the girls, who were in their care for about a month and a half. According to Doug Buyserie, DHS determined that because the children were with the couple for less than a year, there was no real bond that could have formed.

Although they would be permitted to return to foster care in a couple years with DHS, the Buyseries say they are pursuing other options. They are looking into some of the private and semiprivate agencies in Oregon that are unaffiliated with DHS.

“We’re looking at doing some kind of work that’s similar to foster care — along those lines,” he said. “We’re looking for an agency that treats foster care differently.”

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