2021 Children's Agenda
LEGISLATION PASSED FOR 10 OF 11 PRIORITIES!
This Session Saw BIG Wins
for Oregon's Children and Families
With the close of the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session, we celebrate the legislative wins and new investments secured for Oregon’s children and families! The 2021 Children’s Agenda, a legislative policy agenda for Oregon’s future, was comprised of 11 priorities amid a total of 44 items addressing the holistic, intersectional needs of children. Centered in racial equity, the Agenda was championed by over 115 partners statewide in order to align efforts, work collaboratively, and powerfully show up for Oregon’s children, youth, and their families.
This year, unlike any other, presented unique challenges to the typical legislative session. Whereas past sessions saw in-person engagement among advocates, policymakers, and the public in the halls of the Capitol, this year the legislative process was virtual in response to the public health concerns posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We thank our partners and the communities that came together amid these challenging circumstances to advance meaningful legislation and investments for Oregon’s children and families.
2021 Children's Agenda Priority Wins
Ensure No Worker is Left Behind passed as part of the omnibus tax expenditure bill meaning ITIN tax filers in Oregon will now benefit from the state Earned Income Tax Credit.
Promote Racial Equity in Homeownership had both bills (SB 79 and HB 2007) pass which includes providing down payment assistance and other targeted supports to begin to addressing racial gaps in homeownership.
Strengthen the Oregon IDA Initiative passed as part of the omnibus tax expenditure bill and includes reauthorizing the tax credit and funding the Initiative through the next biennium.
Reduce/Eliminate Suspension and Expulsion in Early Childhood had SB 236 pass ensuring prevention of suspension and expulsion as a key strategy to support children.
Address Racism in Public Schools
Expand Access to Culturally Specific Programs, a budget ask, received $3 million in additional investment to the Early Childhood Equity Fund.
Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis in Oregon was passed as House Resolution 6.
Establish Profession of Licensed Dental Therapists, HB 2528, passed expanding access to basic dental care across the state.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY
Strengthen the Oregon Indian Child Welfare Act passed (HB 562A) codifying adoption practices and providing technical fixes.
Eliminate Implicit Bias in Child Welfare Responses passed (HB 2505) creating a Child Welfare Equity Committee to recommend actions to ensure equitable treatment of anyone receiving child welfare services.
Additional 2021 Children's Agenda Wins
For more details on the priorities highlighted above and to learn more about the items that advanced this session listed below, follow these links and look for the hearts!
- Expand Broadband Access for Students and Families
- Strengthen School Meals Programs
- Expand ILP Services for Transition-Aged Foster Youth
- Protect Kids and Families from Eviction and Instability
- Long-Term Rental Assistance for Youth
- Reform ERDC
- Support Basic Needs Navigators
- Establish Tribal Early Learning Hub
- Support Diversification of the Educator Workforce
- Expand Access to Preschool
- Establish Cover All People Program
- COFA Medical and Dental Coverage
- Increase Funding to Children’s Advocacy Centers
- Support School-Based Oral Health Programs
- Fund SNAP Incentives Program: Double Up Food Bucks
- Fund the Family Preservation Program
- Remove Barriers to Youth Success: Juvenile Expunction Reform
- Support Targeted Investments in Child Welfare
- Expand Supports for Unaccompanied Houseless Youth
- Allow Children’s Service Districts
- End Juvenile Administrative Fees
- Enhance Domestic Violence Support Services
- Fund Wage Parity for Relief Nursery Teachers
- Reinstate Funding for Family to Family Networks
While the 2021 Children’s Agenda was successful across many of our priorities and items, there were misses this session that had the potential to make a real difference for our communities. As we reflect, we acknowledge these lost opportunities and consider how we can advocate for these concepts in the 2022 session and beyond:
- While SB 254, Protect Children from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, did not progress this session, the need to ensure our schools and communities are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases remains. Elimination of non-medical exemptions from school immunization law will protect Oregon communities and save lives. Learn more about childhood immunization in Oregon>>
- Important strides were made for immigrant and refugee communities with the expansion of the state portion of the Earned Income Tax Credit which will now benefit ITIN tax filers, however, the passed legislation stopped short of matching the federal portion of the credit. This further expansion of the credit is essential, alongside other issues including Universal Legal Representation for Immigrant Oregonians and Farmworker Overtime Pay, in order to meaningfully support families throughout the state.
As we envision an Oregon where all children thrive, we are reminded of the work that remains to be done, and invite you to join us in building this future together. Sign up for the Advocacy Alerts below to stay connected!