SALEM — The Early Learning Division was awarded a $26.6 million grant by the federal Administration for Children and Families to improve and expand programs to serve Oregon children and families from birth to age five. The funds will be distributed over three years ($8.9 million annually) and focus on children from historically underserved populations.
“This investment will build upon the early care and education investments the state has been making to support Oregon’s children to be ready for the future,” said Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. “The continuation of these funds will ensure parents have greater access to quality child care and preschool, children birth to age five build skills for life-long learning, and the educators who work with young children every day have the support they need to match the importance of the work they do.”
Some of the projects funded by Oregon’s Preschool Development Grant Renewal include:
- Maximizing parental choice and knowledge through enhancements to the state’s online child care safety portal and other parent engagement activities
- Professional development support for the early learning workforce
- Expansion of full-day preschool and the Baby Promise program for rural communities and children of color
- An assessment of mental health support for early childhood, paired with a plan to expand services
The grant opportunity is highly competitive — 46 states applied for a grant renewal and 20 states were awarded the funds. Projects in Oregon’s application are aligned with goals outlined by the Early Learning Council’s Raise Up Oregon strategic plan. Oregon received funding in the previous grant cycle.
The Preschool Development Grant further complements the resources and vision outlined in Oregon’s Student Success Act, which passed in the 2019 legislative session. With a $1 billion annual investment in education, the statewide funds will expand access of early learning opportunities, especially for children with identified special education needs, those who speak another language or come from families facing economic hardship.