PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Direct oversight of Oregon's foster care system is set to change hands for the first time in 17 years.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the shake-up follows a critical state audit in January and a steady stream of multimillion-dollar lawsuits that allege foster children were placed and left in harm's way.

A top official at the Department of Human Services confirmed that Kevin George, who has managed the foster care program since 2001, will be replaced by a new leader hired to focus on recruitment and retention of foster families. George will move Monday to a newly created position focused on federal funding.

The audit concluded child welfare officials recognized systemic problems but failed for years to fix them. They included a complete lack of strategy to recruit and retain foster parents.

___

Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com