Short and Sweet: Oregon’s 2024 Legislative Session

Quote graphic with a blue background

by Suze Wehr



As the Oregon 2024 Legislative Session ended this year, the Policy and Advocacy team at CI let out a deep breath of gratitude, relief, and excitement for the year ahead. Short sessions often prove frustrating for what can be accomplished, but this year built on the chaotic momentum of 2023’s session, clearing the path for early childhood advocates to make great strides forward.   

A room of people coming together for legislative meetings.
Early Childhood Coalition committee meetings in January 2024

The session began on February 5, but things really kicked off in January, when the Policy and Advocacy team, along with our Early Childhood Coalition partners, began gathering supporters for committee meetings. This period allows for movement building, sharing public testimonies, unpacking critical goals for legislation and learning more about what legislators themselves are hoping to accomplish in the big days ahead.  

Three women working in early childhood advocacy, including Elena and Andi from CI's Policy team.
CI’s Policy team members Elena Barreto and Andi Walsh join partners for Early Childhood Coalition committee meetings

These sessions generated support from advocates and legislators alike, culminating in a successful legislative briefing, “Raising Hope.” This meeting brought representatives from both sides of the aisle together with early childhood champions testifying from across Oregon. From medical professionals and educators to families with direct connections to the early childhood services on the table, such as Employment Related Day Care, lawmakers heard directly why each of the early childhood agenda items matters to their constituents.

Screenshot from the Raising Hope early childhood Legislative Briefing
Screenshot from the Raising Hope early childhood Legislative Briefing

Opening the event, Representative Lisa Reynolds shared that we’re arriving at “a watershed moment” for the early childhood movement as we see more and more people working together toward equitable opportunities and solutions to Oregon’s crises by centering the needs of children. 

And the next month and a half proved just that.


An advocacy action day hosted by Day Care for Oregon, working toward raising awareness around ERDC in partnership with fellow early childhood advocates.
Child Care for Oregon hosts the ERDC (Employer Related Day Care) Advocacy Day with Coalition Partners

The Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program received enough funding to address its deficit, with $99 million allocated immediately to tackle existing caseload issues, and an additional $72 million designated in a special purpose account (SPA) to potentially reduce the waitlist next year. CHIPs & Child Care (HB 4098A) saw partial funding of $5 million out of the requested $8 million to enhance child care access near semiconductor chip manufacturing centers.

Birth to 5 Literacy received $9.4 million, with half going to culturally specific grantees and the other half to the Kindergarten Partnership Fund. Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education received $22 million to restore cuts from the 2023 session. Relief Nurseries and Nurse Family Partnership were fully funded with $2.7 million and $3.2 million respectively, under the Joint Addiction & Community Safety Response Committee budget framework.

Graphic with text unpacking 2024 short session legislative wins for early childhood advocates. the graphic has a cream background and bright teal text.
Early Childhood Coalition Wins from the 2024 Session

While we did not receive the funding requested for Healthy Families Oregon, the Early Learning Scholarship Program, or additional funding for the Child Care Infrastructure Fund, we are deeply grateful for all the progress made during this short session.  

We are so thankful for everyone who joined in this work by contacting legislators, participating in advocacy days, attending briefings, or cheering on our early childhood movement from wherever you are across Oregon. Your efforts matter! And the wins we achieved this year truly show how much advocacy, connection, and collective efforts 1) must lead the way and 2) make all the difference.

As Representative Hoa Nguyen shared to close the Raising Hope legislative briefing, “Our children are the center of everything we do, and I hope we continue that trajectory – it takes a village to raise children, and you are all a part of that village.” 

Let us continue that trajectory as we celebrate, plan, and prepare for next year’s session. 


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