League Publishes Much Anticipated "Children at Risk" Study

This League of Women Voters of Oregon Education Fund (LWVOR-EF) has released a Study that focuses on children’s early years—from pregnancy to age six: “Children at Risk—early learning, early intervention.” This study provides background on Oregon’s efforts to improve its system for young children while reducing risk factors. 

Of the 45,000 children born in Oregon each year about forty percent, or 18,000, of them are considered to be at risk. Currently in Oregon, many children are not identified early enough to provide early intervention services. Only 32% of children under age 6 received a developmental screening in Oregon in 2011-2012.  Yet before beginning school 90% of all of Oregon’s children will be seen by a medical provider, and 60% will show up in a daycare setting.  Coordination between health care (physical, mental, dental) and social services may identify those youngsters earlier who need intervention services. 

“The League of Women Voters recognizes that we are among other experts in early childhood development. Our forte is in the area of providing nonpartisan studies on subjects of interest to Oregon citizens,” says Robin Wisdom, President, League of Women Voters of Oregon.

Becky Gladstone, Chair of the League of Women Voters of Oregon Education Fund says, “This Study Committee has spent two years researching these complex changes and presenting them in ways that will allow local communities to follow the dollars and services targeted to early learning and early intervention.”

Chris Vogel, study co-chair from Salem says, “Our team of about a dozen examined the impetus for recent legislative changes in Oregon and examines the effects of new efforts to coordinate services among various state bodies including the Early Learning Council (ELC), Early Learning Division (ELD), Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Department of Human Services (DHS), and Regional Accountability Collaboratives (RAC). The study also looks at national and state funding.” 

Linda Clary, study co-chair from Roseburg notes that LWVOR-EF will take the study to local communities throughout Oregon, relaying the over-arching question: What’s Best for Oregon’s Youngest Children?  Linda says, “It will take time for recent changes in the delivery of services to mature, yet children can’t wait. Community members and advocates for children are encouraged to follow the rollout of the new regional collaboratives called Hubs throughout Oregon as they deliver services and facilitate efforts across historical barriers to access.”

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