Bad News, Good News from Oregon Child Welfare Report

Children First for Oregon has released its' 2007 report card on the Status of Children in Oregon, and the grades aren't so good.

From the Statesman Journal:

Oregon has earned another dismal grade on child welfare issues from the local chapter of a national children's advocacy group.

The overall 2007 grade on the report card issued by Children First for Oregon was a "D", and the state earned an outright "F" in two categories: health and early childhood education.

The other categories were not much brighter. The state got a "C-" for family financial stability, and a C+ for youth development and education.

The grades are based on how close the state's residents are to meeting the goals set out by the Oregon Progress Board, and how much they've improved over the last 10 years.

For example, the state goals call for 100 percent of eligible 3-and-4-year-olds to be enrolled in government-funded preschool programs by 2010. But only 57 percent of those eligible are participating.

Teen drinking rates are well above targets, and just 70 percent of third graders are meeting state math standards, far off the target of 90 percent. And 6,625 children were reported as abused or neglected in 2006, an increase of 10 percent from the previous year.

The good news? Things are looking up. This year's State Legislature "Super Session" will soon make a difference:

Oregon's scores should continue to improve next year, once new legislation passed by the 2007 legislature has a chance to kick in, said Robin Christian, Children First's executive director.

The legislature put $39 million into an expansion of Head Start, and put $40 million into a program that helps working parents afford child care.

Legislators also worked on reforms to the foster care system, and have asked voters to approve a November ballot measure that would expand government-funded children's health insurance coverage. That proposal would be paid for by an increase in the state's cigarette tax.

Read the rest. Once again, democratic legislators are getting it done for Oregon's children.


  • Sean (unverified)

    Seriously - no comments?

  • (Show?)

    When OPB reported this story they mentioned that CFO had changed its "grading" standards from last year and if they had used the previous ones, most of the grades would be both higher than these and better than last years, if I remember correctly.

    The S-J story is helpful in giving some indication of the actual content of the "grading" standards. But since I don't know who is on the Oregon Progress Board or how they arrived at their targets, nor much about historical statistics or how much they fluctuate or how to evaluated issues of underreporting in abuse (say) -- one could lower that stat by discouraging reporting rather than reducing abuse, I tend to be skeptical of this whole "grading" exercise.

    Also I basically disagree with the entire premise of "children first." A huge chunk of the improvements sought here will only occur if children's parents or guardians get adequate support when needed. We need to fight for social and community solidarity with struggling families of all shapes.

  • RFK (unverified)
    <h2>Pre-school has not been proven to increase mental health or intelligence in adolescence. The fact that people are not participating in it does not mean that Oregon is failing in early education. In fact it shows that families are being smart in the fact that they are allowing their children that extra year or two before they start kindergarten to mature. It is far healthier for a child under the age of 6 to be in the primary care of his or her family then at a school preparing for college.</h2>
in the news 2007

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