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Department of Early Learning and Care

Oregon Preschool Development Grant: Strengths and Needs Assessment

The federal Preschool Development Grant is aimed at building state and local infrastructure to deliver quality early childhood programs and establish stronger coordination and collaboration across program and sectors, including strong tribal partnerships.

Preschool Development Grant Renewal (2020-23)

In December 2019, Oregon received notice that its renewal grant application was funded at $8.9 million a year for three years, for a total of $26.6 million. Oregon’s renewal grant application expands services for children and improves systems elements that are critical toward supporting families, children, and early childhood educators. More information on the grant is forthcoming.

Each Preschool Development Grant (PDG) B-5 Application is listed below:


The Department of Early Learning and Care would like to recognize the significant and valuable work by the PDG research team at Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services (PSU) and OSLC Developments, Inc. (ODI). We thank (in alphabetical order): Mackenzie Burton (PSU), Beth Green (PSU), Nicole Lauzus (PSU), Alicia Miao (ODI), Lindsey Patterson (PSU), Katherine Pears (ODI), Deena Scheidt (ODI), Elizabeth Tremaine (PSU), and the interviewer teams at ODI and PSU.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the families who participated in the surveys, focus groups, and listening sessions.

We are also grateful to the staff from the community-based organizations who worked with the PDG research team to shape the research questions, connect with families, and ensure that families’ perspectives were accurately reflected in final reports.

kids in school

2019-2020: We thank Bienestar, Bridging Communities, Community Action of Washington County and Coffee Creek Head Start and Early Head Start, Coos Health & Wellness and the CaCoon Program, Doulas Latina, Frontier Early Learning Hub, Humanitarian Assistance with Kindness & Interculturalism (HAKI), Latino Netowrk, Northwest Regional Early Learning Hub, Oregon Community Development Coalition (Chiloquin, Gresham, and Madras), Seaside Head Start and the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council, and South Central Early Learning Hub.

2020-2021: We thank AB Cultural Drivers, Bridging Communities, Burns Paiute Tribe & Tuwakii Nobi, The CaCoon Program, Coos Bay School District Title VI, Coos Health and Wellness, Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, Doulas Lintinas Internation, Frientier Early Learning Hub, Klamath Tribe and Klamath School District Title VI, The native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), and Self Enhancement Inc.

Special thanks to agency and organizational partners that graciously provided reports and data for this work: The Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Early Learning Division, Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Health Authority, NPC Research, Oregon Housing and Community Services, the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries, Oregon State University, Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative, Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership, the Butler Institute for Families, WIC, 211info, Healthy Families Oregon, and Oregon Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting. We are also grateful for the input and advice shared with us by members of the Early Learning Council, Raise Up Oregon Agency Implementation Coordination Team (ROUAICT), 2019-2020 PDG B-5 Strengths & Needs Assessment Advisory Committee (SNAAC), 2019-2020 Agency Workgroup, and 2019-2020 Family Voices Workgroup.

We would also like to thank research partners and subcontractors, AB Cultural Drivers (Nelda Reyes, evaluation contractor), Alissa Beddow (graphic design); Michaella Sektnan and Megan Pratt (Oregon State University); and Katie Winters (research consultant).

Finally, our deepest appreciation to the members of Oregon’s early learning community without whom much of this information would not be available—the Early Learning Hubs, Child Care Resource & Referral Networks, Head Start/OPK program directors and staff, Preschool Promise directors and staff, and all of the other child care programs and providers.

Family Household Survey

The Preschool Development Grant (PDG) Research Team has published the 2022 Statewide Household Survey Report. The report presents the results of the third statewide survey administered to parents and other caregivers of children aged 0 to 5. The survey was conducted from December 2022 through January 2023. The findings provide important information about the needs for child care and the challenges to finding care currently faced by Oregon families. We would like to thank all those who participated in the survey for sharing their needs, experiences, and perspectives.

PDG COVID Provider Report

The COVID-19 pandemic brought widespread disruptions, closures, and chaos to early learning and care services and systems designed to support family well-being. Across the United States and in Oregon, there remains a critical shortage of child care, as programs have failed to reopen as pandemic-era health restrictions have lifted.

To understand how state and local agencies could better support Oregon-based child care programs and help them remain open during public health emergencies or other situations that create pressure for closures, our team of researchers at Portland State University (PSU) Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services (CCF) and OSLC Developments, Inc. (ODI) was engaged to conduct a study.

The goal of this study was to learn from home-based child care providers who made the decision to close permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic and understand why they closed, and what, if any, supports might have enabled them to stay open and continue to serve families with young children.

Home-based providers represent an important component of the child care system and provide much-needed care for many of Oregon’s families who identify as Black, Indigenous, and Other Persons of Color; these home-based providers also are a vital source of care to many rural Oregonians.

Further, home-based providers may be less likely than center-based programs to have cash reserves and other resources that might help them stay in business during emergencies such as that posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more, read the executive summary (which will be provided in other languages soon) and the entire report:

child playing with blocks in group  

2022 Assessment

Early Educator Voices

Findings from Oregon’s Early Childhood Care Provider Survey 2022: Challenges and Opportunities for Professional Development and Coaching

Early childhood education (ECE) programs and the individuals who provide care to the children and families within those programs have experienced an array of challenges since 2020, including the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, with associated changes in guidelines, program closures, and severe staffing shortages.

These more recent challenges have compounded long-standing issues of low provider pay, systemic racism and classism experienced by many providers, lack of resources for supporting children with perceived behavioral challenges, and pre-COVID staffing shortages, to name a few.

To better understand current challenges (other than COVID-19 specifically) facing Oregon’s ECE providers, the Early Learning Division (ELD), in partnership with researchers at OSLC Developments, Inc. and Portland State University’s Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services, conducted a statewide survey of all licensed ECE providers in May of 2022.

The following report focuses on challenges and opportunities for professional development and coaching.

Executive Summary
Full Report

This work is part of ongoing research and needs assessment conducted as a collaboration between Portland State University’s Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services, OSLC Developments Inc., and the Oregon Early Learning Division.

Family Voices

In winter and spring 2022, a series of remote listening sessions and interviews was conducted to listen deeply to families with young children. These sessions were designed to elevate the perspectives of families from historically and currently marginalized communities, and to use this information to shape program investments and policy changes in Oregon’s early learning system.

To support utilization of findings, the Early Learning Division has committed to incorporating the results and recommendations from these and other needs assessment and evaluation studies into Leadership Responsive Plans that link data-based recommendations to policy action.

Executive Summary
Full Reports
Families’ Experiences with Early Childhood Education and Child Care: Lessons for Creating Quality Care for Oregon’s LGBTQIA+ Families
Accessing Child Care for Infants and Toddlers: Family Perspectives and Challenges in Receiving Quality Care
Families’ Experiences of Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion: Messages for Building More Inclusive Environments

This work is part of ongoing research and needs assessment conducted as a collaboration between Portland State University’s Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services, OSLC Developments Inc., AB Cultural Drivers, and the Oregon Early Learning Division.

2020 Assessment

Early Educator Voices

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Oregon’s early care and education (ECE) programs’ ability to remain open and serve families. The Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) contracted with  Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services  and OSLC Developments, Inc. to assess this impact by conducting a statewide survey in March 2021. This survey was open to all early educators across the state of Oregon, including directors, owners, lead teachers, assistant teachers, and aides. The survey engaged 3,035 early educators and explored how the pandemic affected both early educators and ECE programs.

Download a press release about the assessment.

The report of survey findings, "The Effects of COVID-19 on Oregon’s Early Care & Education Workforce and Programs,” was published in June 2021 and is available below. This research was conducted as part of the  Partnership for Preschool Improvement Project (PPI) which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation . It follows the  2019 Preschool Development Grant Statewide Needs Assessment.

Family Voices

For Oregon families, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges. It also intensified existing systemic barriers to high-quality, affordable early care and education. In Fall of 2020, the Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) contracted with  Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services  and OSL OSLC Developments, Inc. ending sessions with families about their child care services, supports, and experiences during the pandemic.

The full set of 2020 family reports (published in Spring 2021) are available below. This research follows the  2019 Preschool Development Grant Statewide Needs Assessment , and was made possible by the  Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 (PDG B-5)  from the Administration for Children and Families, in coordinate Department of Education of Education.

2020 Reports
Executive Summary: Findings from the 2020 Household Survey
Key Highlights: A Summary of Listening Sessions with Families with Young Children
Statewide Household Survey Results: COVID-19 and Child Care

Read the 10 individual reports below to learn more about the experiences of families in different communities throughout Oregon, including specific reports based on listening sessions with African American families, Spanish-speaking Latinx families, Native American/American Indian families, families in rural and frontier Oregon, and families with children experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities and/or chronic health care needs.

2019 Assessment

In 2019, the Early Learning Division received a one-year  Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 (PDG B-5)  from the Administration for Children and Families, in coordination with the Department of Education.

While the PDG B-5 grant supports several state-level planning activities, the primary focus is on a statewide needs assessment to determine the current strengths and challenges of services and supports for families with children from birth through five years. This report is guided by the five-year statewide vision and system goals outlined in Raise Up Oregon, and this data will help inform planning for expansion and improvement of Oregon’s early learning system.

The Early Learning Division contracted with  Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services  and OSLC Developments, Inc. (ODI) to conduct the Oregon PDG B-5 Strengths Needs Assessment. Below is a summary of phase 1 and phase 2 activities.

Little girl laughing  

Phase 1:

Phase 1 of the project provided a county- and state-level collection of 53 key indicators related to understanding the early learning system, including service provided, child care access and availability, early childhood workforce characteristics, and community, family, and child-level risk and resiliency factors. For more information, see “Oregon Preschool Development Grant Strengths & Needs Assessment.”

Phase 2:

A key goal of phase 2 of the PDG B-5 Strengths & Needs Assessment was to better understand the early care and education system experiences, challenges, and hopes of Oregon families with young children. In particular, the project aimed to determine family identified barriers to and gaps in access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally responsive early childhood care and education opportunities.

  • PDG B-5 Household Survey: This survey by phone or the web collected information from a statewide representation sample of Oregonians with children ages 0 to 5. The purpose of the survey was to gather information on:
    1. Current experiences in early childhood care and education. The types, frequencies, and hours of early childhood care and education services utilized by families in the past year.
    2. Satisfaction and challenges with finding and using early childhood care and education. Families’ satisfaction and challenges with finding early childhood care and education services for their child as well as whether the services obtained were culturally responsive to the family’s background and/or home language.
    3. Rates of suspension and expulsions from early childhood care experienced by families and reasons for these experiences.
    4. Developmental supports for children at home. The frequency and types of learning activities that families engaged in at home with the children aged 0 to 5 years.
  • Family Listening Sessions: Using a community-based participatory research approach, the PDG research team provided resources to 13 different community-based organizations to help design and conduct family listening sessions, and to help interpret and share findings. Twenty listening sessions and/or interviews were conducted, including 151 families.
  • Early Learning Map of Oregon (ELMO): Data from phase 1 of the PDG B-5 Strengths & Needs Assessment was used for the creation of the Early Learning Map of Oregon (ELMO), an interactive planning tool. This map aims to support Oregon’s early learning partners in their work on planning and improving early care and education in their region. See “Early Learning Map of Oregon (ELMO)” tab to view the tool and for more information.


Statewide Household Survey Report
Experiences and Needs for Early Care and Education Service: Key Findings from the Phase 2 Household Survey & Family Listening Sessions
Family Listening Session Full Report: Hearing from Oregon’s Families About Child Care Needs
Hearing from Oregon’s Families About Child Care Needs: Key Findings from Statewide Family Listening Sessions
Strengths & Needs Assessment: Birth through Age 5

Individual Family Listening Session Reports

Bienestar Forest Grove
Bienestar Scappoose
Bridging Communities
Coos Health and Wellness
Doulas Latinas International – Woodburn
Frontier Early Learning Hub
Head Start Coffee Creek
Head Start Seaside
Latino Network – Gresham
Latino Network – Tualatin
Northwest Regional Early Learning Hub
OCDC Chiloquin