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New OR Report: “Family-Friendly” Better for Business

March 5, 2008

Salem, OR – Oregon children are doing better in terms of learning and the overall financial stability of their families, according to a new report by Children First for Oregon. But the latest breakdown by county shows that, by most measures of health, education, child care and child safety, Oregon is falling behind on meeting its own goals for the year 2010. The group hopes lawmakers, as well as business owners, get the message.

Cathy Kaufmann of Children First for Oregon says the results make an especially strong case for paid family leave.

"Most families are faced with the choice of providing their family members with the care they need, or paying the rent. Half of all workers right now don't even have paid sick time, and when you look at low-income families, the numbers are even worse. Of the working poor, 75 percent have no paid sick time."

Kaufmann says the idea of paid family leave for illness or to care for new babies, was defeated in the 2007 Legislature, but will be back in 2009. The report advocates two additional family-friendly priorities, affordable childcare and health insurance. About one in eight Oregon children is uninsured.

Kaufmann says the report proves family-friendly policies would improve the state's economy and that political infighting has only slowed the progress.

"What we need is to make sure that issues that are critical to families don't become part of the partisan bickering that we've seen for years now at the state and national level. What we need is a new approach to policy change and we need to make sure that kids are a top priority."

The "County Data Book 2007" on the status of Oregon's children can be found online at

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR