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Department of Early Learning and Care

Early Childhood Equity Fund

What is early childhood equity fund?

The Early Childhood Equity Fund (ECEF) was created as part of the Student Success Act and provides about $10 million annually in grants to support culturally specific, kindergarten readiness and family support programming, including the following service areas:

Kids playing behind an adult

This includes the following organizations and programs:

  • Parent-child interactions
  • Parenting education
  • Early literacy and family literacy
  • Native language preservation

ECEF funds Culturally Specific Organizations (CSO) and Culturally Specific Early Learning Programs (CSLEP) that focus on closing opportunity gaps for children and families who face historical and current inequities due to factors such as race, income, zip code, or language. ECEF grantees are committed to providing early learning services rooted in culture, home language, and lived experience. 

Culturally Specific Organization or CSO means an organization that serves a particular cultural community and is primarily staffed and led by members of that community; these organizations demonstrate intimate knowledge of lived experience of the community, including but not limited to the impact of structural and individual racism or discrimination on the community; knowledge of specific disparities documented in the community and how that influences the structure of their program or service; ability to describe the community’s cultural practices, health and safety beliefs/practices, positive cultural identity/pride/resilience, immigration dynamics, religious beliefs, etc. and how their services have been adapted to those cultural norms.
Culturally Specific Early Learning Program or CSELP means a program that is designed to serve a particular cultural community and is primarily staffed and led by members of that community and designed by or adapted by members of the cultural community that it serves.

How does equity fund support children and Families?

Parenting Education 

ECEF grantees provide parenting education services focused on enhancing parenting practices and behaviors. Services support positive parenting techniques, increase understanding of child development milestones, and increase access to community services and supports.

Parent-Child Interaction 

Another service area focuses on parent‐child interaction. Through direct coaching, parents learn how to positively influence behaviors and strengthen bonds with their child. Grantees increase opportunities for parent‐child interactions and parental awareness.

Kindergarten Transition

Kindergarten transition services help families and children entering kindergarten feel ready and supported. Grantees focus on the "whole child" with programs that support children’s social-emotional development. Program types include culturally specific early literacy and school readiness, home visiting, and family engagement.


Demographics of Children Served:

Total Number of Children Served in 2021-2022: 3,744.

Equity Fund Grantees: 28.

Equity in Oregon

Oregon is an increasingly diverse state, and our young children are leading the way. Oregon’s nearly 275,000 young children under the age of six are more linguistically, racially, and ethnically diverse than the older child and adult population. A quarter of Oregon’s young children speak a language other than English at home. Diversity is an asset and Oregon intends to build an early learning system that recognizes this to make sure more children and families have access to culturally specific early learning opportunities. The Early Childhood Equity Fund expands access and strengthens state partnerships with culturally specific organizations and Tribal nations. 

Equity Fund Grantees

The Center for Improvement of Child & Family Services at Portland State University:Building the Case for Culturally Specific P-3 Strategies in Oregon

Providers and partners who receive funding from the state through an ELD contract or agreement are required to complete an equity training. Click herefor more information.