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Early childhood advocates around the country are celebrating the 2018 Omnibus spending bill recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. The bill contains a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the largest increase in history. Doubling discretionary funding for CCDBG in FY2018 will expand child care assistance in all 50 states and serve approximately 230,000 more children.

The CCDBG program, which provides child care subsidies for low-income families along with funds for improving child care quality, was reauthorized in 2014 and brought changes to care continuity for children and families and improvements to safety and quality. The 2018 funding increase will allow for full implementation of the 2014 reauthorization, including increases in reimbursement rates for providers.

The spending bill also contains increases for other early learning programs, including:

  • $610 million for Head Start with $115 million of that for Early Head Start expansion and growth of child care partnerships to improve care quality
  • $250 million for Preschool Development Grants designed to help states build or enhance preschool programs or expand high-quality programs
  • $35 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program which supports low-income parents attending institutions of higher education
  • $24 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) to support early intervention and services for preschool children with disabilities
  • $20 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers which strengthens after school programs in high-poverty and low-performing schools
  • $5 million for infant and early childhood mental health intervention and treatment through the 21st Century Cures Act

Total increases amount to more than $3 billion for early learning and child care nationwide and draw attention to needed improvements in child care quality. Looking ahead, states will have to grapple with using new funds to expand the number of child care slots in the existing system and increase funding per child for existing slots to bolster quality.

High-quality child care providers in this context can be expected to offer rich and diverse learning materials, have cultural and linguistic knowledge to meet the needs of kids and families they serve, have access to ongoing professional learning, and are supported with living wages.

In Oregon, only 16 percent of eligible families receive the subsidy, and when they do receive it the amount per child does not often purchase high-quality child care that supports age appropriate early learning and healthy development. While the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) estimates that CCDBG funds could reach an additional 2,480 kids in Oregon, the approximately $28 million should be used to increase per child spending in order to increase access as well as improve quality, child outcomes, and school readiness. 

Capitol2018 Short Session

The Oregon Legislature meets for regular sessions lasting 160 days in odd-numbered years, and short sessions lasting 35 days in even-numbered years. This year, the legislature will be in session from February 5–March 9.

To keep an eye on important days in the capitol, click here.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The following steps outline the basic process for a bill to become a law in Oregon.

  • A bill is sponsored by a member of the Senate or House of Representatives. (The process is the same either way. For the sake of this example, let’s say the bill starts in the House.)
  • The bill is assigned to a committee, which reviews the bill, holds public hearings and work sessions, and then submitted back to the House for a vote.
  • The full House debates the bill and then votes. The bill must receive a majority of votes (31 in the House, 16 in the Senate) to pass.
  • If passed, the bill is sent to the Senate where it is assigned to a committee, as above.
  • The full Senate debates and votes on the bill.
  • Bills must be passed by both houses in an identical form, so if the Senate changed the bill at all from the house version, there will be a reconciliation process to resolve any differences between the two versions.
  • If both houses pass the same version of a bill, it is sent on to the governor to sign or veto. A veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both houses.

For more detailed information about how a bill becomes a law, click here

Key Terms

The following are a selection of key terms for the legislative process. For a full legislative glossary, click here.

  • Amendment: A change made or proposed to be made to a measure. Measures can be amended more than once.
  • Caucus: "Caucus" is used as both a noun and a verb. A caucus, n., is a group of people who share something in common (e.g. they are members of the same political party, such as the Senate Republican Caucus or the Senate Democratic Caucus, or come from the same area of the state, such as the Coastal Caucus or the Eastern Oregon Caucus, or share something else in common, such as the Freshman Caucus or the Women's Caucus). When these people caucus, v., they meet to address their group's policy questions and to select political candidates for office, or political party leaders.
  • Committee: A group of legislators chosen to consider bills in a particular subject area and make recommendations to the full Senate or House.
  • Do Pass: The recommendation by a committee for passage of a measure, abbreviated "DP." "DPA" means "do pass with amendments."
  • Engrossed Bill: A measure that is printed with its amendments included.
  • General Fund: Money available for the state budget that is not dedicated to a specific agency or purpose and that can be used for general purposes of state government. Most General Fund money in Oregon derives from personal and corporate income taxes. Some revenue from liquor, cigarettes, and other sources also go into the General Fund.
  • Hearing: A public meeting of a legislative committee held for the purpose of taking testimony and/or other action concerning proposed legislation.
  • Legislative Days (also called Committee Days): Since Oregon voters adopted annual sessions in 2010, the Legislature meets for a maximum of 160 days in odd numbered years and 35 days in even numbered years. The period of time in between sessions is called the interim. The Legislature convenes periodically during the interim for special meeting days, called "Legislative Days."  Legislative Days happen approximately every eight weeks and last for four days.  During Legislative Days, Committees may hold informational hearings on topics that could lead to legislation in upcoming sessions, hear updates on implementations of past legislation, hear reports from state agencies and Task Forces, and keep current on the subject areas which affect Oregonians.  During Legislative Days, the Senate may also convene for the purpose of making executive appointments.
  • Other Funds: Money received by state agencies that does not come from the General Fund or from the federal government. Other Funds come from sources such as gasoline taxes, driver licenses fees, and fishing license fees. Other Funds may be dedicated, requiring the revenue to be spent for specific purposes. Examples of dedicated funds are park user fees dedicated to park programs and gasoline taxes dedicated to highway programs.
  • Sponsor: The legislator(s), state agency, or legislative committee that introduces a measure. The name of this person or committee is printed at the top of the measure.


Your income shouldn’t determine whether you can visit a doctor or nurse, or get medicine when you’re sick. Measure 101 protects healthcare for vulnerable Oregonians, including seniors, people with disabilities, and 400,000 children. That’s why Children's Institute has joined more than 100 other organizations in endorsing a YES vote on Measure 101 this January.

Getting out the word about Measure 101 is critical. Please join supporters to help spread the word about Measure 101:

Yes on 101 Portland Kick-Off and Canvass
Sunday, December 3 from 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Oregon AFL-CIO (3645 SE 32nd Ave, Portland, OR 97202)


Supporters of Measure 101 of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities are welcome to attend for snacks and a rally from 12:00-1:00 p.m. and then we'll hit the streets together to do some door-knocking! Rain ponchos will be provided. First-timers are very welcome!

Voting Yes on Measure 101 Will Ensure That: 

  • Every child in Oregon has access to healthcare. 
  • Working families, seniors, and people with disabilities keep the care they need. 
  • Healthcare costs and insurance premiums for hard-working Oregonians are stabilized. 
  • Funds are dedicated by law to healthcare programs.

Measure 101 ballots



Organizations and consultants are invited to submit one response to the Children’s Institute’s Kindergarten Readiness Family Focus Groups Request for Proposal (RFP). To submit a proposal, applicants must comply with the instructions contained in this RFP. By submitting a proposal, the applicant agrees to the RFP terms and conditions. Competitive proposals will be considered for the Kindergarten Readiness Family Focus Groups project.

The RFP proposal due date is Friday, December 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. PST.

Instructions to Submit

Please submit your proposal electronically to Elena Rivera, Health Policy and Program Advisor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, December 1st, 2017. Please include the title "Kindergarten Readiness Family Focus Groups" in the subject line.


Elena Rivera
Health Policy and Program Advisor
(503) 219-9034
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Children’s Institute Overview

Children's Institute envisions an Oregon where every child is prepared for success in school and life. Children experience their most profound brain development in the first eight years of life, and the quality of life experiences during that time sets the foundation for all future learning and development. We advocate for strategic policies and investments in early education and healthy development, because investing early in kids and their families is the most effective strategy for improving long-term outcomes for Oregon’s children.

Kindergarten Readiness Family Focus Group Background

A primary goal of Oregon’s early learning system is ensuring that all children arrive at kindergarten ready for school. There is broad understanding that multiple family, community, early care and education, and health factors contribute to children’s kindergarten readiness. However, there is no consensus about the roles that various sectors play, or how they should work together toward the shared goal of kindergarten readiness.

Oregon’s early learning system is developing an early learning plan for the state, which will include priority actions and policies to improve young children’s kindergarten readiness. Oregon’s health system is seeking to identify metrics that can be implemented to hold the health system accountable for its role in kindergarten readiness. Decision-makers and stakeholders agree that these efforts should be informed by the perspectives of families. Children’s Institute can provide critical support to Oregon by taking the lead on gathering family input on key questions about kindergarten readiness.

Focus Group Purpose and Rationale

Children’s Institute is seeking support from an independent contractor to help conduct 6-8 focus groups with families in communities across Oregon to inform the development of a health system accountability measure related to kindergarten readiness, as well as the development of Oregon’s early learning plan. The purpose of the family focus groups is to solicit input from parents and caregivers on the definition and domains of kindergarten readiness that are most important to them, as well as their perspective on the roles of the health system and early learning systemi in promoting kindergarten readiness. While Oregon has undertaken some past work to gather family input about various early childhood topics, these efforts have tended to be regional and often narrowly focused on gathering input to inform a specific program. This will be the first statewide effort to gather family input on the roles of the health and early learning sectors in promoting kindergarten readiness.

Focus group findings will inform the state’s early learning plan, the process and outcomes of a technical work group dedicated to developing health metrics related to kindergarten readiness, and will be shared broadly with other stakeholders. Importantly, focus groups also present an opportunity for Children’s Institute to deepen relationships with communities across Oregon and build awareness about the  importance of a comprehensive early learning system. The goal of the focus groups is to collect input from families to answer three overarching research questions:

    1. How do families define kindergarten readiness and what do they believe are the critical components of kindergarten readiness?
    2. How do families describe the role that the health system plays in promoting kindergarten readiness?
      1. What can pediatricians and other health providers do to support their children’s healthy development?
      2. What can clinics/medical homes do to support their children’s healthy development?
      3. What positive experiences have families had, and what would they like to see improve?
    3. How do families describe the role that the early learning system plays in promoting kindergarten readiness?
      1. What can preschool teachers and child care providers do to support their children’s healthy development?
      2. What other early learning supports do families need/benefit from?
      3. What positive experiences have families had, and what would they like to see improve?

Scope of Work

Children’s Institute is seeking external support from a contractor to plan and conduct family focus groups. The selected contractor will work closely with Children’s Institute’s Health Policy and Program Advisor and Kindergarten Readiness Consultant on key activities: 

  1. Develop and refine the focus group protocol, leveraging similar research undertaken in other areas of the country to ask families aboutkindergarten readiness.ii,iii
  2. Develop and refine a sampling plan and outreach materials tailored to our target audience.
  3. Schedule and conduct 6-8 focus groups across Oregon, prioritizing communities where Children’s Institute has strong and growing relationships with partners (ranging from Multnomah County to Wallowa County).
  4. Write individual focus group summary reports of high-level themes on a rolling basis.
  5. Write an overall focus group summary report that identifies key findings across all focus groups.

Our target audience is parents, caregivers, and family members of children ages 0-8. We seek input from families who are living in poverty, belong to racial/ethnic minorities, live in rural communities, and have children with developmental disabilities or special health needs.

All data must be collected, analyzed, and summarized by March 1, 2018. 

This short timeline is driven by the processes and timelines for launching a kindergarten readiness metric technical workgroup and developing the state’s early learning plan.

Total project budget is not to exceed $72,000.

Proposal Submission Instructions

Please submit your proposal electronically to Elena Rivera, Health Policy and Program Advisor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, December 1, 2017. Please include the title "Kindergarten Readiness Family Focus Groups" in the subject line.

Proposals should be no longer than 5 pages long (not including example work
products), and must include:

  1. Statement of organizational capacity, background and qualifications of individuals working on the project that includes:
    1. Experience conducting focus groups with parents/caregivers of young children, including: families living in poverty, culturally and linguistically diverse families, and families living in rural communities
    2. Example work products for similar projects
    3. References for similar projects
  2. Detailed budget and timeline to complete the project within the project timeline (by March 1, 2018) and within the project budget (not to exceed $72,000). The budget should include a clearly delineated fee structure tied to each task associated with the project (e.g. focus group facilitation, travel costs, participation incentives, data analysis).

All submissions are to be for a contractor position. As such, the contractor will be independent and not considered an employee of Children’s Institute. The successful contractor shall be responsible for payment of all social security and income taxes associated with payment for said services.


i  ‘Early learning system’ refers to the programs and services that promote children’s development and learning before they enter kindergarten, and includes voluntary home visiting programs, Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education services, child care, and preschool.




Download a copy of this RFP



LobbyDay2017 homevisitingfinal1

MIECHV funds high-quality, evidence-based home visiting services in Oregon's voluntary home visiting system.You can help renew federal funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program by taking three actions.

CALL your members of Congress

You can look up your senators here and your representative here. It’s also important to make calls to leadership in both the House and Senate.

Key points:

  • Families are at risk of losing critical home visiting services because of congressional inaction
  • Congress let MIECHV expire despite strong bipartisan support and clear evidence that MIECHV home visiting programs work
  • States do not have the money to make-up for Congress' inaction
  • S.1829 would reauthorize MIECHV for five years
  • For every tax dollar spent on home visits, as much as $5.70 is returned to the community

Learn more about MIECHV expiration and reauthorization

TWEET your members of Congress

Join the conversation on Twitter: #RenewMIECHV

You can look up Twitter handles of senators here and representatives here. We also encourage you to tweet at Congressional leadership. You can find House leadership here and Senate leadership here.

Use #RenewMIECHV on Twitter and tweet to your members of Congress.

Download and share graphics from the Home Visiting Coalition

Sample Tweet: 

MIECHV is good for families, good for states & good for taxpayers. What are we waiting for? #renewMIECHV

EMAIL your members of Congress

Send an email to your senators and your representatives, as well as House and Senate leadership.

Sample Email:

Subject line: Support S. 1829 to Renew MIECHV – your constituents are counting on you

Dear Senator/Representative ______,

My name is ______ and I live in _______. 

I’m writing to urge you to renew federal funding for home visiting by supporting Senate bill 1829, bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program for five years without a harmful state match.

It’s been two weeks since inaction allowed the program to expire, and jobs and services are on the line.

Please do everything in your power to pass this legislation as soon as possible. The clock is ticking. Every second that Congress waits is a second closer to lost services and lost jobs.

Children and families across the country are counting on you and your colleagues to pass federal funding for home visiting.

Thank you.



More Resources

Oregon's Voluntary Home Visiting Services

Home Visiting Coalition

Children's Institute Update

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Phone: 503-219-9034 | Fax: 503-419-6083
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