• Happy


    I am so HAPPY and Thankful for this Program.

  • Future

    Oregon's Future

    Healthy, educated children: the best thing you can do for Oregon right now! and in the future.  (Kathleen J.)
  • Boy

    Head Start Helps

    The Head Start Program was the kick start I needed in my life. (Robert H.)

  • Learn

    Ready to Learn

    Oregon students and families rely on Head Start programs to ensure that our kids arrive in kindergarten ready to learn.

Applying for Head Start, Early Head Start, or OPK Services

Posted in OHSA News

The Oregon Head Start Association does not directly provide early childhood education services, however our member programs do. If you are not sure which program is in your area, please use the Head Start Locator. A directory of Oregon Prekindergarten (OPK) programs can be found on the Oregon Department of Education website. Head Start and OPK programs follow the same standards, the difference is one is federally funded and the other is state funded.

Please directly contact your local program to get an application. 

2014 Oregon Survey for Parents of Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Posted in OHSA News

July 17, 2014

Dear parent,

I am writing to ask your help with a project being conducted for the Oregon Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Needs (OCCYSHN).

The Federal government requires OCCYSHN to conduct a needs assessment every 5 years. The purpose of the needs assessment is to

  • Identify the current needs of children and youth with special health care needs, and their families, and
  • Make sure that OCCYSHN and the State of Oregon uses this information to improve the systems that our youth and families use.

OCCYSHN is trying to make sure that we hear from families of youth (and youth themselves) with a wide range of special health needs and to make sure that we hear from families across the state.

Some information about the survey:

  • You can access the survey through the electronic links below. You also can contact us and we’ll mail you a paper version of the survey and a postage paid envelope for you to return it to us.
  • Your answers are anonymous and will be summarized with responses from other parents (OHSU Institutional Review Board No. 00010807).
  • This survey is voluntary. However, you can help us very much by sharing your experiences.
  • You also can help us by forwarding this message to other parents of children and youth with special health care needs.
  • Parents who complete the survey are eligible to enter a raffle for one of five $50 Visa gift cards.

If you have questions or comments about this survey, we would be happy to talk with you.

Our toll-free number is 1-877-307-7070, or you can email (

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
) or call (503-418-1475) Alison J. Martin, Ph.D., OCCYSHN’s Assessment & Evaluation Coordinator.

No one knows better than the youth and families themselves what is working and what is not. Thank you very much for helping us with this important work.

Marilyn Sue Hartzell, M.Ed., Director
Oregon Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Needs
Institute on Development & Disability
tel: 503-494-6961

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

P.S. You also can help us by forwarding asking young adults (ages 12 to 26 years) to complete our youth survey. We have printed and electronic versions of our youth surveys in English and Spanish. Hard copies of the surveys and postage-paid envelopes will be mailed to youth that request them. 

The youth survey links are:

Heatstroke Deaths Can Be Prevented

Posted in Action Alerts

It’s that time of year for some fun in the sun as summer heats up and families head outdoors or on vacation to look for fun ways to cool off.

But with these rising summer temperatures also comes a dangerous and potentially deadly situation for many of our children – from rising heatstroke deaths in hot motor vehicles.  In fact, such deaths are the leading cause of non-crash related fatalities for children 14 and younger. 

Most people don’t realize that a child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees; death can follow in a child when that temperature reaches 107 degrees. 

Even with outdoor temperatures only in the 60s, the inside of a car can heat up to well above 110 degrees in just a matter of minutes.  But with summer upon us, and daytime temps in many areas across the country shooting into the 90s or higher, vehicles will heat up even faster. 

That makes it very important to know the risks and consequences associated with leaving kids in cars — especially hot cars -- because tragedies can and do happen.

In fact, from 1998-2013, 606 children across the nation died due to heatstroke from being left in a vehicle.  Just as tragic, over half (52 percent) of those kids were actually forgotten in the vehicle by a busy and distracted parent or caregiver.

 Take Action!

Dollar Per Child

Posted in OHSA News

We need your help to have $1 donated to the National Head Start Association for every child enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start programs in Oregon. We ask you to donate a single dollar, of course more is welcome! You can donate online directly through the Dollar per Child donation page. If you chose to use this method, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

">contact us so we can add your contribution to our thermometer. You can also donate through your local program or at OHSA conferences.


Families Encouraged to Participate in Free Summer Meals

Posted in OHSA News


June 2, 2014
Media Contact: Crystal Greene, 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(503) 947-5650
Families Encouraged to Participate in Free Summer Meals
National Summer Food Service Program offers nutritious meals to combat student hunger
(Salem, Ore.) – Today Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton announced the upcoming Summer Food Service Program which provides free, nutritious meals to students over the summer months here in Oregon. During the school year, many students rely on the free and reduced-priced breakfasts and lunches that schools provide to supplement what’s available at home. Over the summer, there are free meal sites set up throughout the state to help ensure that students have access to nutritious food even when they aren’t in school.  Similar meal programs exist around the country to combat student hunger.
“Childhood hunger is a huge issuer here in Oregon, with many children and their families not knowing where their next meal will come from,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “For some students, the meals they receive at school may be the only reliable, nutritious food they can count on. The arrival of summer can increase concerns over food insecurity as families struggle to put food on the table.  These meals help provide vital nutrition so that our students can stay healthy and hunger-free over the summer months.”
In the 2013-14 school year, 54% of students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.  That’s up from 43% a decade ago. As our state has continued to recover from the Great Recession, many families have struggled to make ends meet, and the meals offered at school can provide critical access to reliable, nutritious food for Oregon students. However, participation in the summer meals provided around the state is much lower than school-year free and reduced-price meal participation. This indicates that there are many more students who could benefit from access to nutritious meals over the summer months. Nationally 6 out of 7 eligible kids do not get free summer meals.  Increasing awareness of and access to these programs can have a significant impact on combating childhood food insecurity.
“Our program helps many struggling families bridge the gap when school is out,” said Misty Crawford, Nutrition Director at St. Helens School District. “Our participants love the park settings and the games we have available. We ask for participant feedback each year, and we receive so may thank you responses.  Families express that they don’t know how they would have made it through the summer without the program. With SNAP cutbacks we are more important than ever.”
Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. This is a huge issue nationally with 48.8 million Americans, including 16.2 million children, living in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. According to data from 2011, 27.3% of Oregon students suffered from food insecurity, a rate well above the national average. 
“Food insecurity impacts students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn,” said Deputy Superintendent Saxton. “If we want our students to be prepared to excel in school, we need to ensure they have their basic needs met, including access to sufficient, nutritious food year-round. No child should go hungry or have to worry about where their next meal will come from.  I want to encourage everyone to help spread the word about the free summer meals that are available throughout the state.  Together, we can have a real impact on child hunger in our state.”
The Summer Food Service Program offers free meals to low-income children 18 and under at locations all around the nation including here in Oregon. There are over 500 summer meal sites in Oregon alone.  Families can look up meal locations in their area online at: http://www.summerfoodoregon.org/ or http://www.whyhunger.org/findfood or by calling the national hunger hotline at 1.866.3hungry or 1.877.8hambre.  Meals are available without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. 
“The smiles on the children's faces as they walk in the door and see the kid-friendly food and awesomely fun books, makes our day and everyday a better day for our community,” said Terri Tucker, Food Service Manager at Salem-Keizer School District.
We invite community partners, school districts, and media partners to help spread the word about the free summer meals to families in your area.  This week launches a national effort to raise awareness about these resources and connect more children to nutritious food. A sample Facebook post and Tweet are provided below for those interested in helping to spread the word and reduce child hunger this summer. 
Sample Tweet:
The @USDA Summer Food Service Program provides meals to low-income children when school is out!http://ow.ly/sQ4qT #SummerFoodRocks
Sample Facebook post:
Children need good nutrition all year long. When school is out during the summer months, many children no longer have access to even one nutritious meal each day. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps to fill the gap. To find a site, call 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre or visit the www.whyhunger.org/findfood.
Want to learn more? Resources on combatting childhood hunger and summer meals include: