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How ELM Is Transforming the Early Learning System

For three years, Early Learning Multnomah has been bringing people together to tackle deep-rooted problems in our county’s early learning system. And we couldn’t do it without our partners. We are lucky enough to work with people and organizations from all across Multnomah County—from healthcare and schools, to housing and cultural organizations. 

We asked a few of them how their work has changed since they began working with us, and how they think ELM has contributed to the field. Here’s what they had to say. 

“It is not always possible to stay looped into everything that is happening in a large and complex early childhood system. By partnering with ELM, we are assured that our work has strategic links to system partners through collaborative meetings and councils, as well as through ELM's thoughtful funding of synergistic initiatives.” 

– Elizabeth Carroll, Healthy Families/Home Visiting Systems Supervisor, Maternal Child and Family Health, Multnomah County Public Health Division

“ELM’s focus on serving children farthest from opportunity aligns with FamilyCare’s work to serve individuals on the Oregon Health Plan. Since we began participating, FamilyCare has increased its knowledge about the issues and opportunities for partnership between health and early learning. We are now poised to make a greater impact on systems and services for young children and the communities in which they live.” 

– Annette Dieker, Health and Education Systems Coordinator, FamilyCare Health

“ELM is addressing the inequities in early childhood access and outcomes head on. They have the ear of the early childhood community, and they have the ear of the people in power, but they are driven by parent voice. They lift parent voice up to the forefront in many different settings where it wasn’t before. ELM wants to make sure that we’re coming up with community-based strategies for addressing those issues that disproportionately affect children of color, immigrants and refugees. It inspires us to build more parent leadership into our own program, too.” 

– Arika Bridgeman, Program Specialist, Community Capacitation Center, Multnomah County Health Department

“Hearing the voices of the priority populations through ELM's Parent Accountability Committee (PAC) has been incredibly helpful. The Multnomah Early Childhood Program is addressing their concerns regarding special education and how we might better address cultural differences through the special education referral, identification and service process. The PAC is helping us improve our practices and we are so grateful for the voices around the table.”    

– Barbara Kienle, Director of Student Services, David Douglas School District

“There are a lot of players on the early learning field in Multnomah County, which makes it a challenge to create an integrated system that really meets the needs of our most vulnerable families. I appreciate the way ELM helps us move down the path, actively looking for leadership from the families we are seeking to serve, and being responsive to the needs and perspectives of systems and community providers. It’s not an easy dance, and they remain authentically engaged in the hard and messy work of moving Multnomah County toward greater and more strategic alignment of services and support.” 

– Rachel Langford, Education and Youth Initiatives Program Director, Home Forward

We'd love to hear how you think our county's early learning system has changed in the past three years. Send us a message at earlylearning@unitedwaypdx.org