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Oregon Preschool Development Grant: Strengths and Needs Assessment

For Oregon families, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges. It also intensified existing systemic barriers to high-quality, affordable early care and education. In Fall of 2020, the Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) contracted with Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services and OSLC Developments, Inc. They conducted a statewide survey and listening sessions with families about their child care services, supports, and experiences during the pandemic. 

Click here to read a press release about the assessment.

The full set of 2020 family reports (published in Spring 2021) are available below. This research follows the 2019 Preschool Development Grant Statewide Needs Assessment, and was made possible by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 (PDG B-5) from the Administration for Children and Families, in coordination with the Department of Education.

2020 Reports

Read the 10 individual reports below to learn more about the experiences of families in different communities throughout Oregon, including specific reports based on listening sessions with African American families, Spanish-speaking Latinx families, Native American/American Indian families, families in rural and frontier Oregon, and families with children experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities and/or chronic health care needs.

In 2019, the Early Learning Division received a one-year Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 (PDG B-5) from the Administration for Children and Families, in coordination with the Department of Education.

While the PDG B-5 grant supports several state-level planning activities, the primary focus is on a statewide needs assessment to determine the current strengths and challenges of services and supports for families with children from birth through five years. This report is guided by the five-year statewide vision and system goals outlined in Raise Up Oregon, and this data will help inform planning for expansion and improvement of Oregon’s early learning system.

The Early Learning Division contracted with Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services and OSLC Developments, Inc. (ODI) to conduct the Oregon PDG B-5 Strengths Needs Assessment. Below is a summary of phase 1 and phase 2 activities.

Phase 1:

Phase 1 of the project provided a county- and state-level collection of 53 key indicators related to understanding the early learning system, including service provided, child care access and availability, early childhood workforce characteristics, and community, family, and child-level risk and resiliency factors. For more information, see “Oregon Preschool Development Grant Strengths & Needs Assessment.”

Phase 2:

A key goal of phase 2 of the PDG B-5 Strengths & Needs Assessment was to better understand the early care and education system experiences, challenges, and hopes of Oregon families with young children. In particular, the project aimed to determine family identified barriers to and gaps in access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally responsive early childhood care and education opportunities.

  • PDG B-5 Household Survey: This survey by phone or the web collected information from a statewide representation sample of Oregonians with children ages 0 to 5. The purpose of the survey was to gather information on:
    1. Current experiences in early childhood care and education. The types, frequencies, and hours of early childhood care and education services utilized by families in the past year.
    2. Satisfaction and challenges with finding and using early childhood care and education. Families’ satisfaction and challenges with finding early childhood care and education services for their child as well as whether the services obtained were culturally responsive to the family’s background and/or home language.
    3. Rates of suspension and expulsions from early childhood care experienced by families and reasons for these experiences.
    4. Developmental supports for children at home. The frequency and types of learning activities that families engaged in at home with the children aged 0 to 5 years.
  • Family Listening Sessions: Using a community-based participatory research approach, the PDG research team provided resources to 13 different community-based organizations to help design and conduct family listening sessions, and to help interpret and share findings. Twenty listening sessions and/or interviews were conducted, including 151 families.
  • Early Learning Map of Oregon (ELMO): Data from phase 1 of the PDG B-5 Strengths & Needs Assessment was used for the creation of the Early Learning Map of Oregon (ELMO), an interactive planning tool. This map aims to support Oregon’s early learning partners in their work on planning and improving early care and education in their region. See “Early Learning Map of Oregon (ELMO)” tab to view the tool and for more information.

For more information, see documents in the “Reports” tab.


  • Statewide Household Survey Report
  • Experiences and Needs for Early Care and Education Service: Key Findings from the Phase 2 Household Survey & Family Listening Sessions
  • Family Listening Session Full Report: Hearing from Oregon’s Families About Child Care Needs
  • Hearing from Oregon’s Families About Child Care Needs: Key Findings from Statewide Family Listening Sessions
  • Strengths & Needs Assessment: Birth through Age 5

Individual Family Listening Session Reports

The Early Learning Division would like to recognize the significant and valuable work by the PDG research team at Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services (PSU) and OSLC Developments, Inc. (ODI). We thank (in alphabetical order): Mackenzie Burton (PSU), Beth Green (PSU), Nicole Lauzus (PSU), Alicia Miao (ODI), Lindsey Patterson (PSU), Katherine Pears (ODI), Deena Scheidt (ODI), Elizabeth Tremaine (PSU), and the interviewer teams at ODI and PSU.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the families who participated in the surveys, focus groups, and listening sessions.

We are also grateful to the staff from the community-based organizations who worked with the PDG research team to shape the research questions, connect with families, and ensure that families’ perspectives were accurately reflected in final reports.

2019-2020: We thank Bienestar, Bridging Communities, Community Action of Washington County and Coffee Creek Head Start and Early Head Start, Coos Health & Wellness and the CaCoon Program, Doulas Latina, Frontier Early Learning Hub, Humanitarian Assistance with Kindness & Interculturalism (HAKI), Latino Netowrk, Northwest Regional Early Learning Hub, Oregon Community Development Coalition (Chiloquin, Gresham, and Madras), Seaside Head Start and the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council, and South Central Early Learning Hub.

2020-2021: We thank AB Cultural Drivers, Bridging Communities, Burns Paiute Tribe & Tuwakii Nobi, The CaCoon Program, Coos Bay School District Title VI, Coos Health and Wellness, Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, Doulas Lintinas Internation, Frientier Early Learning Hub, Klamath Tribe and Klamath School District Title VI, The native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), and Self Enhancement Inc.

Special thanks to agency and organizational partners that graciously provided reports and data for this work: The Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Early Learning Division, Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Health Authority, NPC Research, Oregon Housing and Community Services, the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries, Oregon State University, Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative, Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership, the Butler Institute for Families, WIC, 211info, Healthy Families Oregon, and Oregon Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting. We are also grateful for the input and advice shared with us by members of the Early Learning Council, Raise Up Oregon Agency Implementation Coordination Team (ROUAICT), 2019-2020 PDG B-5 Strengths & Needs Assessment Advisory Committee (SNAAC), 2019-2020 Agency Workgroup, and 2019-2020 Family Voices Workgroup.

We would also like to thank research partners and subcontractors, AB Cultural Drivers (Nelda Reyes, evaluation contractor), Alissa Beddow (graphic design); Michaella Sektnan and Megan Pratt (Oregon State University); and Katie Winters (research consultant).

Finally, our deepest appreciation to the members of Oregon’s early learning community without whom much of this information would not be available—the Early Learning Hubs, Child Care Resource & Referral Networks, Head Start/OPK program directors and staff, Preschool Promise directors and staff, and all of the other child care programs and providers.