From ArgusObserver.com, Bandelean, Argus Observer, 13 Aug 2011.
Ontario [OR] — The Oregon Child Development Coalition is celebrating its 40th anniversary and continues its mission in improving the lives of children and families through leadership, advocacy and a range of essential services promoting growth and independence.
“Not only do we help in child development, we keep the kids out of the field,” Lori Clark, program director at OCDC Malheur County, said.
The OCDC started as a result of concerned residents in Hood River after a child was left unattended and drowned in a drainage ditch.
OCDC focuses on preparing children, ranging in age from 6 weeks old to 5 years, for success by providing educational programs and parent education and skill building and promotes economic development through employment, resource development and workforce development.
Some of the programs that are offered are migrant and seasonal Head Start, Oregon pre-kindergarten, early Head Start, family literacy and family childcare. The migrant and seasonal Head Start is a statewide early childhood program for children and families of migrant and seasonal farm workers, serving children from birth to age 5.
Early Head Start is an early childhood comprehensive program for children ages birth to 3 years of age extending over seven counties in the state. This program also offers services to expectant mothers to promote the health of both mother and child. Family literacy is an adult education program focusing on literacy activities for parents and children. Family childcare is an in-home childcare program that works with childcare providers in two counties to meet the childcare needs of migrant farmworker families.
Last year, OCDC served more than 4,400 children and also provided 478,696 meals to children and families. OCDC in Malheur County has two locations, in Ontario and Nyssa. The programs offered in Malheur County are the migrant and seasonal program and early Head Start.
“Starting in October, we will offer family childcare which is in the home,” Clark said.
The Ontario migrant and seasonal program serves 180 children and the Nyssa migrant and seasonal program serves 85 children. In the Ontario Early Head Start, 64 children participate, and 16 children are served in the Nyssa early Head Start. In all, the OCDC in Malheur County serves 198 families in Ontario and 78 families in Nyssa.
“We are an educational service, and education is important, and we are community-minded, which I am also,” Clark said.
In honor of OCDC’s 40th anniversary, there was a celebration in Ontario that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a children’s presentation, a tour and more.