About Oregon Child Care Research Partnership

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girl smilingThe Oregon Child Care Research Partnership brings together state child care agencies, child care resource and referral, child care practitioners, and university-based researchers to define, create, and disseminate research on child care dynamics to decision-makers. The partnership engages parents as research and policy advisors.

The Child Care Division (CCD) within the Oregon Employment Department coordinates the child care system in Oregon. As the agency that administers the federal Child Care and Development Funds, CCD administers contracts that provide the major support for the system and measures system performance. The Oregon Commission for Child Care works closely with CCD and is the major state child care policy-making organization. Through the Research Partnership, the Commission has solid information on how well the child care system is serving children and families.

The Children, Adults and Families Cluster within the Department of Human Services (DHS) manages the child care subsidy program and works with partners to improve child care options for the low-income families served by the subsidy program. DHS is the lead agency for the biennial market price study and is central in studies of child care subsidy program dynamics. The Child Care Health Consultations Project is housed within the Office of Family Health, Public Health Division, Department of Human Services.

The Inclusive Child Care Project of the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities works with partners to support inclusion of children with special needs in child care settings. They have a special interest in estimating child care usage and perceptions of parents of children with disabilities. The Oregon Commission on Children and Families works closely with the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities and with local counties on early childhood planning and building the supply of hard-to-find child care. The Commission is currently funding local projects aimed at increasing the supply of quality childcare.

The Oregon Child Care Resource and Referral (R&R) Network collects and manages child care supply data collected by its member agencies. The Network merges R&R, CCD regulatory data, and DHS provider data to develop understanding of the size and characteristics of the child care market. The Network provides the data for the biennial market rate study and assists in the interpretation of that data. The Network also leads efforts to develop profiles of child care in each of Oregon’s 36 counties. Parent Voices is a project of the Partnership designed to engage parents in state child care policy-making. The Network recruits and supports the parents for this project and coordinates efforts to integrate them into child care policy-making bodies.

A team of agencies has developed the research methods and information dissemination strategies the Partnership uses to explain child care dynamics to decision-makers. The Partnership analyzes data from a wide range of sources to provide decision-makers information on child care supply, demand, price, and other key aspects of child care system functioning. The Oregon Child Care Research Partnership hosts the annual Child Care Researchers’ Roundtable that brings researchers from universities, state agencies, and other organizations together with policy-makers and practitioners for a day of sharing of Oregon child care research.

Two major state universities provide research experience and expertise to the partnership. The Regional Research Institute at Portland State University (PSU) developed most of the methodology for measuring child care supply, demand, and prices. The Family Policy Program at Oregon State University (OSU) provides coordination to the Research Partnership and does the biennial analysis that results in Data for Community Planning: Oregon Population Estimates & Survey Findings, produces the biennial market price study, provides benchmark estimates, and works with partners on other child care research.

Research partners are involved in a number of studies in addition to those around child care system dynamics. OSU is leading research efforts to understand the dynamics of the child care subsidy program and design performance measures for the child care system and investments in the child care workforce. PSU produced a body of research on the quality of child care from a parent perspective and other work and family issues.

The Partnership is part of the national Child Care Policy Research Consortium of the Child Care Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, Health and Human Services. The Consortium brings together researchers, state agency staff, and child care practitioners to build and disseminate policy-relevant child care research to inform communities, states, and the federal government.