Several important – and truly historic – victories for Oregon’s kids have occurred during the 2015 Oregon legislative session when it comes to children’s education, economic stability, health, and safety. Most notably, lawmakers have approved paid sick days, expanded opportunity and independence for foster youth, increased access to free school lunches, and prevented domestic abusers from possessing firearms.
But our work on behalf of Oregon’s kids is not done.
There are still key areas where lawmakers can make a big difference in children’s lives yet this session–specifically, in their budget negotiations. Last week was the first public hearing for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) budget and this week lawmakers will discuss the early education budget.
Both budgets contain requests for additional funding for crucial children’s programs, yet there is immense budget pressure. Critical programs like Employment Related Day Care (ERDC), Home Visiting Programs, Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), and mixed delivery pre-school all seek increased investment for the next two years.
As we’ve highlighted previously, programs like Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) and Home Visiting are designed to help low-income families access affordable child care and to receive the evidence-based parental training that we know protects kids.
These programs are proven to reduce demands on future state budgets and increase each child’s opportunity to become healthier and more economically secure. And as the 2015 Oregon Legislature hurtles towards a close, the need to improve the future for Oregon’s children continues.
Please tell your lawmaker that their work is not yet done and that you support additional investments in affordable day care, home visiting, TANF, and mixed-delivery pre-school for Oregon’s most vulnerable children.