As Oregon’s Early Learning System continues to strengthen and grow, many changes and opportunities for collaboration are happening in 2016.
Parents need a comprehensive system to find and access child care and early learning services. Providers need increased opportunity and access to professional development and supports that include culturally relevant, racially and economically diverse training opportunities that promote children’s optimal brain development. Recognizing this need, the Early Learning Division is partnering with 211Info to provide parent referrals!
Moving Forward: Child Care Referrals Transitioning to 211info
The Early Learning Division will transition referrals from the Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) in July 2016 to 211Info, a clearinghouse that helps people identify, navigate and connect with the local resources, and is now available in all counties in Oregon. By simply dialing 211, the parent or caregiver is able to receive child care referrals along with secondary community referrals for comprehensive services. A trusted repository for updated information, 211Info is positioned to serve all segments of the population, including: people experiencing poverty, professionals seeking resources for clients, individuals looking for rapid assistance in navigating early learning and health care systems and partner agencies working on network efficiencies.
211Info has hired two teams to respond to child care referrals and update child care provider information for accurate referral information. The team members have experience and/or education in early childhood education and parent education and will go through a month long training in June before answering calls. 211Info will begin responding to child care referral requests on July 1, 2016. The lines will be open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. PST/8 a.m. – 12 p.m. MST and Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. PST/9 a.m. – 9 p.m. MST. Parents can also request referrals via email, text and web.
CCR&Rs, the Early Learning Division, Department of Human Services, and 211 will work together as partners to evaluate what works and what needs strengthening throughout this year. Everyone is committed to a successful transition that supports parents seeking child care and providers having the support they need for continual quality improvement and professional development.
This transition allows CCR&Rs to focus on their strengths and expertise: professional development for our early learning workforce. The goal is to enhance Oregon’s professional development system to ensure children are in environments that comprehensively promote optimal learning and development.
Expanding Professional Development
To most effectively support child care and early learning providers, the Early Learning Division wants to expand the professional development system that CCR&R can continue to build upon. CCR&R’s have strong relationships and trust with child care providers in their communities and offer relationship-based professional development through face to face trainings and Quality Improvement Specialists. Additionally, CCR&R’s have staff who are qualified Early Childhood Education trainers and their partnerships and collaboration with community colleges creates a seamless pathway for continued professional development and higher education in ways that meet the needs of our early learning workforce. The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is statewide and a comprehensive tool to support child care providers in obtaining QRIS tier levels, and these quality improvement efforts are led by CCR&R’s throughout the state.
We believe these changes will more effectively support providers in their professional development as well as children and their families making decisions for their needs. It will take some time to make this transition, and working together, we know this will be successful.