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Children’s Institute promotes cost-effective public and private investments in young children birth through third grade. Their goal is to increase the number of Oregon’s children developmentally on track, arriving at kindergarten prepared for success and meeting third-grade benchmarks. They advocate for an education system that aligns and integrates early learning, family engagement and health with the primary grades.

State Allies:

Children's Institute • Portland, OR
Top Priorities for 2021

Advocate at the state and federal levels to protect and expand Student Success Act investments in early childhood programs and services, including pre-k, early intervention, and early childhood special education.

Reduce parent co-pays for child care to no more than 7 percent of family income.

Align and strengthen the governance of and coordination of child care programs between state agencies, including transferring child care subsidies to the state’s Early Learning Division.

Explore opportunities to expand early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) in early care and education programs/settings.

Support implementation of strategies to reduce suspension and expulsion and establish effective evaluation and monitoring tools to inform and sustain policy and practice.

Oregon’s 2020 Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (D), Senate (D),
Governor (D)

135,723 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdown left Oregon with a $1 billion budget deficit. Early care and education programs were closed, and a stronger set of health and safety standards was developed to create an emergency child care system for families that must work. The Second Special Session of 2020 went quickly. The Oregon Legislature convened for one day only and addressed the $1.2 billion gap in the state budget. For early childhood, there is good news and bad news. 

The good news is that the legislature allocated funds for the Early Learning Account (ELA) of the Student Success Act (SSA) similar to the amount promised in the 2019 session. The legislature also retained the commitment of 20 percent of funding from the SSA to the ELA. In addition, funding was not cut from the Early Childhood Equity Fund and the Student Success Plans for Black/African American students, American Indian/Alaskan Native Students, and Latino/a students.

The bad news is that the legislature moved forward with cuts to Early Learning Hubs ($1.3 million), Healthy Families Oregon ($1 million), and Child Care Focus Networks ($900,000). In terms of process, the Second Special Session was defined by lack of transparency and public engagement. No verbal testimony was accepted on any bills.

*Early childhood policy progress in a state is the result of numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

More from Oregon:

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the icon to download the report.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 


The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape Oregon early childhood policy.