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2017 Oregon Legislative Session Recap

The Oregon Legislative session ended on Monday and we have both some successes to celebrate and a reminder of the uphill battle ahead for early childhood funding.

In February when session began, the state faced a $1.8 billion deficit and the threat of devastating budget cuts to essential early childhood programs and services. Through effective advocacy of early childhood partners across the state, those proposed cuts were minimized and we were able to accomplish some exciting progress.

But our work is far from over: While programs were protected this session, Oregon is still not investing enough in early childhood development. We must continue to work to improve outcomes for young children and their families.

Early Childhood Wins

  • Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education — $6 million funding increase.
  • Family Nurturing Center (a Family Relief Nursery in Medford) — $2 million capital investment to build new housing and a family center.
  • Healthy Families Oregon, Relief Nurseries, Early Head Start, Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten, and Preschool Promise — No cuts!

Early Childhood Cuts

  • Early Learning Hubs — 11 percent.
  • Kindergarten Partnership and Innovation Fund (KPIF) — 4 percent.
  • Employment Related Day Care (Child Care Subsidy). No families will be removed from the program, but this will limit future enrollment.

Early Childhood Policy Bills

Many of the early childhood policy bills that passed through the legislative process and are waiting Governor Brown’s signature are modifications to existing statute and not significant changes to the system. These include:

  • Legislation to refine the Relief Nursery statute (SB 314).
  • Legislation to refine the child care background check statute (HB 2259).
  • Legislation to clarify what information about child care providers who receive subsidy payments may be shared publicly and with other agencies (HB 2260).
  • Legislation to support the early childhood workforce (SB 182). There is no state funding to implement this legislation.
  • Legislation to modify the lead teacher requirement in Preschool Promise (HB 2013) became law on June 22 (ORS chapter 280).
  • Legislation to require annual reporting on the Early Learning Hub evaluation (HB 2956) became law on June 28 (ORS chapter 399).
  • Legislation requiring hubs to convene Preschool providers (HB 3106) became law on June 21 and takes effect January 1, 2018 (ORS Chapter 140).

Additional Investments for Young Children

  • Cover All Kids legislation to provide public health insurance for children without documentation of legal residency, passed both chambers last week and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. A related budget bill also allocated $38 million in needed funding to implement the law staring January 1, 2018.
  • Child Welfare received a $30 million investment above current service level to increase foster parent reimbursement rates, behavioral rehabilitation service provider rates, professional development funds, and more. Great news!
  • The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program that provides healthy foods to pregnant and nursing women, infants, and toddlers received a $1 million increased state investment.

#InvestEarly Action Alert: Tell Lawmakers to Stop Budget Cuts to Early Childhood

Oregon lawmakers are in the final stages of writing a budget for the upcoming two-year budget cycle. The cuts they’re considering could diminish programs and services this fall for children and families.

Cuts Include

  • 20 percent cut to Early Learning Hubs and Kindergarten Partnership Fund, $5.3 million.
  • 10 percent cut to Preschool Promise, $3.6 million.
  • 10 percent cut to Healthy Families Oregon of $2.5 million, a reduction of 250 children served.
  • $20 million cut to Employment Related Day Care, a reduction of 1000 families served.

75 percent of vulnerable children are not being served or not receiving adequate early childhood services. Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten, Early Intervention (EI)/Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), and Relief Nurseries don’t receive enough funding to meet the needs of young children across the state.

Early Childhood needs to be a priority in the legislature. Critical brain development happens in the first 8 years of life and we don’t have time to waste.

Contact Your Legislators

Email your state legislators today. Find your state legislator here.

You can use this script to email your legislators:

Hello. I am (legislator's name) constituent. Please fully fund early childhood programs and services that help keep Oregon's young children healthy and prepares them for success in school and life.

I support (choose programs of interest to you): Preschool Promise, Healthy Families Oregon, the Kindergarten Partnership Fund, Early Learning Hubs and Employment Related Day Care.

Investing early in kids pays off. Young children who get the early education and support they need grow up healthier, better educated, and more prepared to handle life’s challenges. Supporting kids to be their best is an Oregon value, squandering their potential, is not.

Thank you.

Share These Data Points and Images

  • Oregon has the 3rd worst graduation rate in the nation
  • Disparities in children can be detected as early as 9 months old and are well established by kindergarten
  • 14 percent of children entering kindergarten could not name a single letter
  • 37 percent of children entering kindergarten could not identify a single letter sound
  • 15 percent of eligible families receive Employment Related Day Care (ERDC)
  • Less than 20 percent of vulnerable families have access to voluntary home visiting services
  • 25 percent of low-income children have access to high-quality preschool
  • 75 percent of vulnerable children are not being served or not receiving adequate early childhood services
Lobby Day 2017 graduation rate Lobby Day 2017 disparities
Lobby Day 2017 letter identification Lobby Day 2017 letter sounds
Lobby Day 2017 ERDC final Lobby Day 2017 home visiting final
Lobby Day 2017 prek Lobby Day 2017 adequate ece




Early Childhood Legislative Update: April 27, 2017


On Monday, April 17, the co-chairs of the state budget writing committee (Ways and Means) released a proposed budget that puts kids at risk. While the target reductions list thankfully and appropriately maintains funding for EI/ECSE, Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten, and Relief Nurseries, the proposed cuts destabilize the healthy development of young children who face significant barriers to opportunity.

Reductions include:

  • 20 percent cut to Early Learning Hubs and Kindergarten Partnership Fund, $5.3 million.
  • 10 percent cut to Healthy Families Oregon of $2.5 million, a reduction of 250 children served.
  • 10 percent cut to Preschool Promise of $3.6 million.
  • $20 million cut to Employment Related Day Care, a reduction of 1000 families served.


To find your representative’s contact information and for a sample script to call or email your representatives, click here.


Ways and Means Co-Chairs’ 2017-2019 Target Reduction Lists

Read the memo early childhood advocates wrote to the Ways and Means Co-Chairs to express their concerns about the proposed reductions to early childhood programs

Early Childhood Legislative Update: April 6, 2017

It is a couple of months into the 2017-2019 session and legislators are starting to face deadlines for moving bills out of their first committees. If a bill has not been scheduled for a “work session” (or vote) by April 7, it cannot move forward. April 18 is the last day a committee can hold the vote on a bill from their chamber (House or Senate). (These deadlines are for policy bills only – not budget bills.) With these deadlines approaching, the hearings and votes on proposed legislation in the coming weeks take on more importance.

Negotiations on revenue and cost saving measures to help balance the state budget continue in private while we wait to understand what program budgets will look like for 2017-19.

Priority Opportunities for Action

  • April 10 is the Early Intervention Alliance lobby day to advocate for Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education funding. All are welcome!
  • Culturally Specific Early Learning Services (HB 3069). Once amended, this legislation will establish an Early Childhood Equity Innovation Fund as a mechanism to fund culturally specific early learning services. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on April 18 at 1 PM in the House Early Childhood Committee. Advocates are hoping for a big turnout to encourage the committee to move this bill to Ways and Means, where it can be considered for funding. Please join!

Other Hearings & Votes Scheduled

  • Early Childhood Professional Development (SB 182). This legislation sets up the statute for the investment in the early learning workforce proposed in the Governor’s budget. It is expected to be voted on with a minor amendment on Tuesday, April 4 at 3 PM in the Senate Education Committee.
  • Early Learning Hubs convene Preschool providers (HB 3106). Once amended (-3 amendment), this legislation will require Early Learning Hubs to convene state-funded preschool providers annually to coordinate outreach and enrollment efforts. It also creates greater flexibility for Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten providers to use their state funds for either full or half-day programs, depending on community need. This bill is scheduled for a public hearing and possible vote on Thursday, March 30 at 1 PM in the House Early Childhood Committee.
  • Early Learning Hub Reporting Bill (HB 2956). This legislation would change the requirements for the Early Learning Division to report to the legislature about Early Learning Hubs. It is scheduled for a vote on Thursday, April 6 at 1 PM in House Early Childhood Committee. Amendments are being drafted to the legislation.

Recent Key Developments

  • Early childhood advocates filled the room on March 15 to advocate for funding for early childhood services. There were representations from Early Learning Hubs, EI/ECSE, Head Start, Preschool Promise, culturally-specific services, and many other entities. The room was packed and some attendees were in an overflow room. It was a great showing! Thank you to all who attended and testified!

Early Childhood Legislative Update: March 9, 2017

Marina and boyEarly Childhood Legislative Priorities

Opportunity gaps can be detected as early as nine months of age. This is one of many reasons Children’s Institute and early childhood advocates focus their work on the critical early years – to prevent gaps before they start.

This is your regular update about the progress of early childhood policy and budget decisions in Salem.

Upcoming Opportunities for Action

  • Learn more. The Early Childhood and Family Supports Committee of the Oregon Legislature is holding an informational hearing on Preschool Promise implementation on Thursday, March 9th, 1 PM. Attend in person or watch on-line from the committee website.
  • Washington County Budget Hearing. Local legislators are holding a community meeting on Thursday, March 9th, 7-8:30 PM at Beaverton High School to hear from more community members about their priorities for the state budget. This is a great opportunity for local advocates to speak on early childhood.
  • Advocate! House Bill 2013 makes amendments to the BA, salary, and evaluation requirements in the Preschool Promise statute. A public hearing is scheduled on this legislation for Tuesday, March 14th, 1-3 PM in the House Early Childhood and Family Supports Committee. These are consensus amendments to the law that have been worked on by the Speaker and a team of stakeholders. Feel free to join us, watch on line, or submit written comment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Testify! The Ways & Means Education Subcommittee, responsible for writing the education budget from early childhood through higher education, is holding a public hearing on the early childhood budget. We need voices from across Oregon to speak up in support of key funding in the Early Learning Division (see attached). The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15th, 8:30-10:00 AM State Capitol, Hearing Room F (get there early to sign up, or let us know and we can sign you up!)
  • Save the Date! House Bill 3066 will be amended to create an Early Childhood Equity Fund. The House Early Childhood and Family Supports committee is scheduled to hear testimony on this concept on March 21st, 1-3 PM. Latino Network is taking the lead on crafting this concept and advocating for a $5 million investment.

Recent Key Developments

  • Governor Brown has added former legislator Peter Buckley to her staff as the Senior Advisor for Transformation and Budget Stability to work on revenue and spending reforms to address budget shortfalls predicted for the next 6 years.
  • The Ways and Means Education Subcommittee heard a presentation on the Early Learning Division budget on March 1st, 2nd, and 6th. You can watch tapes of the hearings on their webpage.
  • The Early Childhood and Family Supports Committee held hearings on the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative and Early Learning Hubs (February 28), and Hub metrics and monitoring (March 2). You can watch tapes of the hearing on their webpage.
  • On March 1st, Coalition of Communities of Color held a lobby day on their agenda, which includes a some early learning priorities (culturally-specific early learning services and Preschool Promise changes).
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