School Readiness Baseline Survey 2007
Ensuring that children are at optimal developmental readiness to start kindergarten requires a systematic effort by families, schools, and the community. Washington County has undertaken continued efforts to build and nurture school readiness over the past decade. This report is the second benchmark study to assess that system of supports. The data for this study was collected in the early fall of 2006 on 537 entering kindergarten children and their families in eight schools across the County. The same model and methods from the first study, which was done in 1997, were used.
Early Childhood in Washington County
Together, we are building a county and a community where each person takes the time to support, mentor, lead and listen to children, youth and families. We are working to build a community where every child and family can reach their full potential.
Washington County is a microcosm of the changing world economy: at the forefront of the technological revolution, it houses an array of cutting edge companies, from small biotech start-ups to Intel’s largest world campus. This prosperous economic environment has seen parallel human development.
Historically, Washington County has been a quiet suburban and rural, highly agricultural community, yet the County’s population has more than tripled since 1970 (from 157,920 in 1970 to 514,296 in 2006).
Children under age 18 comprise 26.9% of the county’s population in 2006 (134,862), and accounted for more than 15% of the state’s 0-17 population. At the current rate of growth, the county’s youth population will be the largest in the state by 2014 if not sooner.
The population expansion accompanying the economic boom over the past several decades has had a profound and almost hidden impact on human services. As the county has developed, local government has had to focus on infrastructure development, assuring roads, transportation and regulations surrounding land use and development. But, with population growth, comes increased human needs that have not generally been accompanied by increased resources committed to social services.
The result is that the county and our children are losing ground. The Comprehensive Community Plan for Children and Families documents the work of numerous individuals and organizations who gathered in small and large groups for over a year to develop the plan.
One of the main areas identified was Early Childhood and a number of the issues which emerged there included: Lack of quality, availability and affordable child care options for parents seeking specific types of care, including: infant/ toddler, special needs care, non-traditional hours, culturally/linguistically specific care, after school care, etc.
A significant percentage of entering kindergartners lack the requisite early literacy skills needed for school success, particularly in high need lower income communities.
Lack of mental health supports for young children and their families and caregivers, including specialized early childhood focused prevention, early intervention, consultation, and treatment services.
Growing numbers of lower income families with young children who lack access to specialized early childhood programs and services, including individualized child development, parenting and family support services for at risk families using home visitation and other home-based models.
EARLY CHILDHOOD RESOURCES
A number of resources have been developed to address Early Childhood Issues in Washington County including early childhood education, parent education and family support, literacy development and health care.
To obtain up to date contact information for these programs and/or agencies please call the Washington County Resource and Referral line at 2-1-1. (Or if you are using a cell phone not yet able to access 211) please call 503-222-5555
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Child Care Resource and Referral – operated by Community Action. Provides recruitment, training and support for child care providers, both center and family care settings. The program also provides information to parents about how to select care, and will provide parents information and referrals to providers.
Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education – special education and support services for children birth to school age with developmental delays and disabilities, physical disabilities, severe emotional disturbances. Program operated by NW Regional Education Service District
Head Start – Community Action Organization and Oregon Child Development Coalition provide Head Start and Oregon Pre-K services to 4 and 5 year olds throughout the county. Community Action also provides limited Early Head Start services, prenatal through age 3. Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC) also provides Migrant Head Start and specialized child care services to migrant and seasonal farm worker children.
HIPPY – Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters – home based child development and parenting program targeting Latino children/families, particularly in western Washington County. OCDC is lead agency.
SE Asian Child Care Project – IRCO recruits, trains and supports culturally specific family child care providers.
PARENT EDUCATION AND FAMILY SUPPORT
Healthy Start / New Parent Network – family support program for first time parents. Collaboration of five agencies provides outreach and screening to first time parents, and home visitation services to at risk families. Health Department serves as lead agency. Parent Education: Several different evidence based parent education classes are available in Washington County that are open to the general public. Contact 211 to obtain a list of numbers.
Child Care Resource and Referral – Workshops and training to assist child care providers to promote early literacy.
Even Start – Comprehensive family literacy program in western Washington County, targeting Latino families. Provides adult education/literacy, parenting education, and child development.
Washington County Libraries – Involved in a variety of literacy promotion and development activities targeted to parents of young children and child care providers.