As more families struggle to cover rising household costs and more children fall behind in Oregon, one thing is clear: we need solutions. We can’t sit passively by while one in five children languishes in poverty. We can’t watch while 30% of high school students don’t graduate. We can’t ignore the suffering of those who don’t have health care coverage. We must create a better future for our kids.
Nearly 100 advocacy organizations and coalitions have come together to create the 2017 Children’s Agenda, a roadmap of solutions for legislators to address the most pressing problems facing children and families in Oregon. Released today, the Children’s Agenda urges policymakers to action and presents structural ways we can protect the economic security, education, health and safety of all kids.
The need for legislators to prioritize children is greater than ever. Oregon’s national rank in overall child well-being has plummeted in the last decade, decreasing from 15th to 32nd, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. With the Children’s Agenda, legislators don’t have to ask, “what do we do about it?” It gives them dozens of ways they can a build a better future for our children and correct our state’s downward trend in child well-being.
Of significant importance this year is Oregon’s looming budget shortfall, which places our state’s most vulnerable at risk. Legislators must create a balanced revenue stream to keep up with the needs of the state’s growing population. No investment garners greater returns than the investment in children. In order for all Oregon children to be sheltered, fed, healthy, educated, and safe, it’s unrealistic to cut public investments and expect successful outcomes.
We invite all Oregonians to join us in building a united voice for children. This involves all of us telling our state legislators that kids need to the top priority — that we need to invest in their education, to ensure their basic needs are met, and to keep them safe. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for United for Kids to receive regular updates. Together, we can make Oregon the best place to be a kid!