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State issues childhood services report

— In the latest step of the transition to a region-based approach to early childhood services, the state has released a draft report detailing the requirements to become a Community Based Coordinator of Early Learning.

The Community Based Coordinators, colloquially referred to as “hubs,” will replace the Commission on Children and Families in each county. In Wasco County the commission oversees numerous projects and programs, the fate of which may depend on what group steps forward to become a Community Based Coordinator.

The 25-page state report, while not finalized, answers several questions:

What is a Community Based Coordinator of Early Learning?

The report defines a hub as a “self-organized consortium or organization” that will guide community resources and align services to help at risk children be ready for kindergarten. The hubs will be accountable for finding and contracting with the most effective service providers rather than providing those services directly.

Who can become a Community Based Coordinator of Early Learning?

The state says a model will not be imposed, but has suggested examples such as community colleges, school districts, nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups or tribes. The geographical region the hubs will oversee is also not prescribed by the state.

What are the requirements to be a Community Based Coordinator?

Applicants should be family-centered, reach the highest-risk children in the region, have coordinated and transparent budgeting, be accountable and be flexible. Once approved, the hubs are expected to be a lean and efficient entity and to do regular assessments to reduce redundancy in the early childhood system. They will be required to get certified by the state on a regular basis.

What responsibility will the Community Based Coordinators be given?

The hubs will be accountable for reporting and improving outcomes and maximizing return on investment. According to the draft report:

“Community Based Coordinators are accountable for ensuring that children and their families meet developmental milestones that lead to kindergarten readiness … They will operate based on their acceptance of the responsibility for improving outcomes connected to kindergarten readiness.”

What is the timeline for implementing Community Based Coordinators?

A proposed timelines shows the state completing and releasing the requests for proposals in May. Applications would be reviewed in August, negotiated and improved for two months, and the first proposals would be accepted in November, with the majority of the hubs opening their doors in January 2014.

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