For the past 25 years, Children First for Oregon has reported on the well-being of kids in our state. In that time, we have seen Oregon’s national rank in child well-being plummet. Ten years ago the state ranked 15th and now it is 32nd, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
We refuse to allow this trend to continue. That is why we launched United for Kids — to improve Oregon’s rank in child well-being to number one by ensuring that legislators make kids a top priority.
Today, the 2017 Children’s Agenda was released, which contains concrete legislative solutions that will improve the economic security, education, health, and safety of kids in Oregon. The Children’s Agenda was developed with the expertise of nearly 100 organizations that specialize in child and family issues, and provides a roadmap for policymakers to solve the most pressing problems facing kids in our state.
Two-thirds of the policy and investment solutions proposed in the 2015 and 2016 Children’s Agendas were successful. But that work is not over and significant barriers remain in the path of progress for Oregon kids.
One of those barriers is the expected state budget shortfall that leaves our kids at risk. Constraints imposed by previous ballot measures and a lopsided tax structure have prevented the state from keeping up with the needs of its growing population. Without a balanced revenue stream, Oregon can’t ensure the future our children need. The data prove that there is no investment that garners greater returns than the investment in children’s economic security, education, health care, and safety. It’s unrealistic to cut investments in Oregon’s children and expect successful outcomes.
Protecting investments and policies for children starts with all Oregonians standing together to hold policymakers accountable. Check out the 2017 Children’s Agenda and make your voice heard by joining United for Kids. Together, we will make Oregon the best place to be a kid.