2019 Policy & Advocacy

We help lead a coalition of advocates fighting for increased state investments in early childhood programs and services. Our policy recommendations are research-based and centered on the lived experiences of families and educators.

Get Ready for 2019

Sign up here to participate in our 2019 advocacy work! We’ll help you contact your state lawmakers to voice your support for our early childhood agenda.

Get Ready for 2019

Sign up here to participate in our 2019 advocacy work! We’ll help you contact your state lawmakers to voice your support for our early childhood agenda.

Preschool and Early Learning Workforce Development

The research is in: preschool matters and it works. If young children who experience barriers to opportunity due to poverty, race, disability, or geographic location do not access high-quality preschool, they are 25 percent more likely to drop out of high school, 50 percent more likely to need special education intervention, and 60 percent less likely to attend college. Additionally, those children who do not attend preschool have fewer job prospects and tend to be less healthy over the course of their lives than those who do. Far too few low-income children have access to high-quality preschool in Oregon.

Expand Preschool Promise: $160 million

15,000 children living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level attend publicly funded preschool in Oregon. An additional 30,000 qualifying children lack access to high-quality preschool.

With this $160 million investment, the program will serve an additional 1,500 children in 2019–2020, and a total of 10,000 more in 2020–2021, moving Oregon toward the goal of serving all eligible children by 2025.

Fully fund Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten: $80 million

Head Start teachers do not earn a livable wage, and many programs are only half-day and provide no transportation. In addition, Early Head Start, a proven strategy to support healthy development and kindergarten readiness, serves very few children 0–3 living in poverty.

With additional funding, Head Start teachers will be paid salaries comparable to kindergarten teachers. Providers will be able to offer more school-day programs and transportation. Early Head Start will be expanded to serve roughly 1,500 additional children ages 0–3.

Invest in the early childhood workforce: $10 million

Expansion of early education programs requires more well-trained and culturally and linguistically diverse teachers to improve program quality and outcomes for children.

With additional funding to support the early childhood workforce, more early educators including those from linguistically and racially diverse backgrounds, will strengthen their practice, and the state will progress toward the goals of the Council for Educator Advancement.

Child Care

The cost of child care can be more than the cost of housing for families with young children. Child care is least accessible and affordable for families with infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, those living in rural Oregon, or those needing evening and weekend care. Recent research indicated that the entire state is an infant-toddler “child care desert.” We have all been shocked and heart-broken by recent deaths and abuses of infants in child care. Making progress will require a comprehensive and sustained approach. Children’s Institute strongly supports Oregon moving rapidly to the recommended one licensing staff for every 50 child care providers.

Build the supply of quality infant-toddler care: $25 million

Oregon is an infant-toddler child care desert. Care is also hard to access for children with disabilities, families in rural areas, and those needing evening and weekend care.

Increasing the supply of quality child care for infants and toddlers will provide parents the peace of mind they need to enter and remain in the workforce.

Improve child care subsidies: $TBD

Oregon has among the highest parent co-pays for child care in the nation, while providers earn poverty wages and children receive care in under-supported environments.

This investment will reduce co-pays and increase reimbursement rates. There may be an opportunity to leverage up to $10 million in federal funds toward these goals.

Create pathways for child care providers to access training: $15 million

Many rural counties in Oregon have just one or fewer Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) staff to provide essential coaching and support to child care providers.

Expanding this critical support to more child care providers will promote the health, safety, and optimal development of young children.

Healthy Families

Loving and supportive parent-child relationships are essential for children’s physical, social, and emotional development. When parents are stable and feel capable, they are able to nurture their children. Strengthening families helps reduce child abuse, increase family economic stability, and support kindergarten readiness. Ultimately, Oregon can build a continuum of services that meet diverse family needs so young children are supported to reach their full potential at home and in their communities. Oregon already has a growing infrastructure needed to do what works.

Launch universal home visiting: $3.5 million

Modeled after the successful Family Connects program in North Carolina, a universal home visiting program has been piloted in Oregon counties, though the program has lacked a consistent and reliable investment.

Universal home visits have been proven to reduce emergency room visits, increase positive parenting, and decrease maternal depression.

Create the Early Childhood Equity Fund: $20 million

Children of color and dual language learners (DLLs) face the greatest opportunity gaps and are Oregon’s fastest growing population of young children.

Increasing the capacity and reach of community based, linguistically and culturally diverse providers can help close opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for these children.

Invest in programs proven to strengthen parent-child bonds and prevent abuse: $20 million

Programs and services like Relief Nurseries, Healthy Families Oregon, and Parenting Education Hubs are not reaching enough families.

Additional funding will allow these effective programs to reach more of the 129,000 young children in Oregon living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level to support healthy and intact families.

Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE)

It is critical for children with disabilities and delays to get the right dosage of EI/ESCE services as early as possible to develop their skills and increase school readiness. Current service levels are grossly inadequate. Only 29 percent of infants and toddlers enrolled in Early Intervention services received the level of service recommended based on research.

EI/ECSE services are effective. In 2016, 64 percent of all infants and toddlers who participated in EI services demonstrated substantial growth at program exit, meaning they needed fewer ECSE and Special Education services in preschool and K–12. More than 27 percent of preschool children participating in ECSE enter kindergarten without the need for Special Education

Increase service levels for children with disabilities and delays: $75.8 million

Only 29 percent of infants and toddlers enrolled in Early Intervention (EI) services receive the recommended levels of service to appropriately address their disabilities or delays.

With additional funding, the 14,000 children served by EI/ECSE will receive the recommended levels of service, which would reduce the number of children needing services in preschool and K–12.

Bills and Legislative Committees

We’ll keep you updated on key pieces of Oregon legislation that will impact our early childhood agenda.

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