(Salem, Ore.) – Today, the Early Learning Council released a new report offering an update on the progress of Raise Up Oregon, the state’s five-year strategic early learning system plan. The Progress Report showcases advances across five state agencies between January 2019 and September 2020 on the three system goals:
- Children arrive ready for kindergarten
- Children are raised in healthy, stable, and attached families
- The Early Learning System is aligned, coordinated, and family-centered
Raise Up Oregon: A Statewide Early Learning System Plan was developed in 2018 at the request of Governor Kate Brown as a blueprint for agencies and sectors to work together and avoid silos in building equitable systems to serve Oregon’s young children and families. It calls for leaders from early care and education, K-12, health, housing, and human services to collaborate on this critical period of children’s lives.
“COVID-19 has had a profound impact and has reinforced the importance of the strategies in Raise Up Oregon and the urgency of this collaborative work,” said Sue Miller, Early Learning Council chair. “The report shows significant progress with new investments in housing, child welfare, health, and early care and education, along with greater coordination among agencies, as bright spots in supporting families.”
Highlights in the report include Universally Offered Home Visiting, which connects families of newborns with comprehensive supports, paid family leave, housing stabilization services through Oregon Housing and Community Services, and the launch of an Early Childhood Equity Fund through the Student Success Act, along with further expansion of and historic investments in early care and education. Oregon also worked to protect the supply of child care during the pandemic by providing emergency grants to child care providers and suspended family co-payments and increasing income eligibility for families receiving child care assistance.
“We know income, race and zip code are predictors of whether young children experience the conditions that are optimal for healthy development,” said Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. “We can only break the link on these factors by changing the circumstances of families and creating more opportunities during a child’s first 2,000 days.”
The Early Learning Council will continue to monitor progress towards implementing Raise Up Oregon, as it identifies priorities for the coming year.