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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.

Children's Institute Update

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