Oregon News Feed

Oregon Daycare Providers Trying To Make The Grade

“Oregon Daycare Providers Trying To Make The Grade”
July 28, 2014
Rob Manning, OPB

More and more, education research says for students to succeed, they need a good foundation in their earliest years.  But when kids are two, three, four years old, they’re not at school - they’re usually at home or in private daycare. That makes it more complicated to ensure kids are learning.

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Former Foster Youth Get Health Coverage Until Age 26

July 18, 2014

On January 1st, 2014, the state of Oregon began offering Medicaid and Oregon Health Plan benefits to over 3,000 eligible former foster care children and young adults.

“This allows the youth between the ages of 18 and up until their 26th birthday, to enroll in this program. It’s a great benefit for kids who traditionally don’t have the same options or resources that other kids have.”

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Officials say data could help identify at-risk children

July 16, 2014
Hanna Hoffman, The Statesman Journal

Imagine walking into the Oregon State Penitentiary and finding a man convicted of armed robbery. Now imagine rewinding his life to the day he turned 10 years old, or 5 years old, or even the day he was born.

Imagine being able to examine his life and identify what led him to that prison cell.

Maybe it was being pulled in and out of foster care. Maybe it was a father who went to prison, a mother who neglected him or a third-grade teacher who let him move on to fourth grade even though he really couldn’t read. Most likely, it was a combination of some of these and more.

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The big emotional, financial costs of childhood poverty

“The big emotional, financial costs of childhood poverty”
June 22, 2014
Dr. Daniel Taylor, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”

- Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It’s spring, and once again I find myself sitting on my back porch gazing at the disparities on the two sides of our modest backyard. On the sunny side, a dozen varieties of flowers blossom in a colorful collage of reds, blues and whites, attracting honeybees and even hummingbirds. On the shady side, the ground is hard, the grass grows poorly, and the colors are bland. With the right seedlings and care, I know we can grow something beautiful there.

Much the same disparities hold across America, where 43 percent of children live in or near poverty, and the health effects of growing up that way can be life-altering.


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Alice Waters: The Fate of Our Nation Rests On School Lunches

“The Fate of Our Nation Rests On School Lunches”
June 16, 2014
Alice Waters, Time

It was the French Philosopher Brillat-Savarin who wrote “the destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves.” And it is this, his most famous idea, that is now never far from my mind when it comes to the discussion of school lunch in this country. When I read last week that there are those in Washington who would dismantle the recent positive gains that have been made in improving the way children are fed at school, I was appalled—yet sadly not surprised. Like many institutions and universal ideas in this nation in recent years, it seems that even something as right and as basic as feeding children food that is good for them has become politicized.

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The damage of poverty is visible as early as kindergarten

“The damage of poverty is visible as early as kindergarten”
June 12, 2014
Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

A big part of the American Dream is being able to climb the ladder and land higher than your parents. But that climb starts when people are just small children, according to new research, and getting off on the wrong foot has lifelong consequences.

In a new article in the spring issue of the Princeton University journal The Future of Children (and highlighted by the Brookings social mobility blog), researchers show that poverty is directly correlated to kindergarten performance. Children who live in poverty have far lower performance than their richer peers across a variety of measures, and those who live in near poverty in turn have dramatically worse performance than middle-class peers. The poorest kids, for example, are less than one-third as likely as middle-class kids to recognize letters.

Children First For Oregon

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Clackamas County kids from economically struggling families likely to go hungry this summer

“Clackamas County kids from economically struggling families likely to go hungry this summer, group says”
June 3, 2014
Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian

More than a quarter-million Oregon students whose families struggle economically can count on receiving a healthy lunch at little or no cost each school day.

But that ready access to a free lunch goes away for many students during the summer. Statewide, just one of every five kids who ate a free school lunch during the school year did so at a nearby school, park, community center or library last June, July and August, according to Oregon Department of Education figures.
And nowhere in the Portland area is that more true than in Clackamas County, where fewer than one of every eight kids who counts on free school lunches gets one on a typical summer weekday, according to the nonprofit group Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.

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Department of Human Services excelled during recession

“Department of Human Services excelled during recession: Guest opinion”
May 7, 2014
The Oregonian
Erinn Kelley-Siel, Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services

The Oregonian’s May 5 editorial, “Putting the focus back on jobs at Department of Human Services,” makes the point that the Oregon Department of Human Services should turn the focus back to helping Oregonians on government assistance find jobs. We agree, and we are already making progress. For the first time since 2008, we are placing about 1,000 job seekers per month into employment on a regular basis. That’s a change from the dark days of the recession.

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The Costs Of Shifting Kids Off CHIP

“Arizona Offers ‘Sneak Peak’ At Costs Of Shifting Kids Off CHIP”
May 8, 2014
Phil Galewitz, The Washington Post

Families of Arizona children who were forced to switch from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to private plans sold in the federal marketplace are likely paying more and getting fewer benefits, according to a study by Georgetown University researchers released Thursday.

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Oregon Rolls Out New Child Welfare Model

May 2, 2014
Kristian Foden-Vencil, OPB

The state says it’s rolling out a new system to keep more children at home — rather than placing them in foster care when there’s a problem.

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Do We Support Children and Families After Adoption From Foster Care?

“Do We Support Children and Families After Adoption From Foster Care? Not So Much”
April 29, 2014
Susan Smith and Adam Pertman, The Huffington Post

For over three decades, the U.S. government has focused considerable effort and funding on promoting adoptions from foster care, resulting in huge increases in their numbers—from an estimated 211,000 in FY 1988-1997 to 524,496 in the most recent 10 years, FY2003-2012. We have made this effort as a nation because we have embraced the value of permanency for children who cannot safely live in their original families, a value based on the belief that all children need consistent, nurturing families to promote optimal development and emotional security throughout their lives.

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We are abandoning children in foster care

April 17, 2014

Editor’s note: Rita Soronen is the president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Since 2001, Soronen has worked to find adoptive families for each of the more than 134,000 waiting children in the U.S. and Canadian foster care systems. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)—In 2012 in the United States, 23,439 children in foster care turned 18 and were “emancipated” or “aged out.” In simple terms, most of them were put out into the world on their own without housing, financial assistance or emotional support.

Take Adrian, now 27. After being placed into foster care at 6 because of his mother’s drug and alcohol abuse, he stayed in care, moving from home to home, until he was 18 and too old for the system. He found the strength to try to put himself through college, using the county van his caseworker helped secure to move there.


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Poverty ‘Ages’ Genes of Young Children, Study Shows

“Poverty ‘Ages’ Genes of Young Children, Study Shows”
April 7, 2014
Marisa Taylor, Aljazeera America

Researchers find that growing up in poor and unstable environments affects 9-year-old black boys on a genetic level

The stress of growing up in a poor and unstable household affects children as young as 9 years old on a genetic level, shortening a portion of their chromosomes that scientists say is a key indicator of aging and illness, according to a study released Monday. The researchers say their findings are the first that document this type of genetic change among minority children and make a strong case for the importance of early-childhood intervention in vulnerable communities.

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Public to get detailed insider view of certain Oregon schools

“Public to get detailed insider view of certain Oregon schools”
April 11, 2014
Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian

When results of a massive survey of Oregon teachers are released late next month, the public will get a detailed look at what really happens inside most of the state’s schools, as reported by the school’s teachers and administrators.

But parents and taxpayers won’t get that kind of peek into Clackamas High, West Linn High, Portland’s Jefferson High and other schools where most teachers did not take part.

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