Oklahoma City --The Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association Inc. has announced the publication of the 2008 Oklahoma Child Care and Early Education Portfolio, a detailed compilation of information and statistics depicting the status of child care in Oklahoma.
With in-depth analysis of such factors as need, availability, cost and quality, this report brings extensive information together into one resource to assist civic leaders and child care advocates in the assessment and improvement of options for working parents and their children.
This is the third Portfolio, with the first having been produced in 2003. While previous editions have included a printed version of each county's data, the 2008 print edition contains only state summary information. Data for individual counties will be available in a dynamic online database at www.okchildcareportfolio.org to allow for frequent updating as statistics change.
In Oklahoma, over 58 percent of all children under 5 live in homes where either both parents work or a single parent works to support the family. Furthermore, nearly 404,000 children age 12 years and younger need some form of child care while their parents work to make financial ends meet. The cost of child care typically equals or exceeds other major family budget items, such as rent or mortgage.
More than 46 percent of Oklahoma's licensed child care facilities provide high quality care with a learning-enriched environment, as indicated by a two- or three-star rating in the state's "Reaching for the Stars" rating system. This percentage is up some 11 percent since the last Oklahoma Child Care and Early Education Portfolio, published in 2005. Because studies have shown that 90 percent of human brain growth occurs in the earliest years, any child care environment should be enriched with age-appropriate, educational activities that develop each child's capabilities for school, future employability and life in a global society.
"This periodic report lets Oklahomans know how child care is changing in our state and helps them to identify and address the relevant issues," said Paula Koos, executive director of the Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association.
"Before our association began producing child care portfolios, parents, social service professionals, community leaders and others seeking to examine the problem had to compile information from multiple sources and try to make rational sense of it," she said. "This publication has been found to save everyone a great deal of time and to ensure that analyses and interpretations are consistent. It is important to note that the contents of the Portfolio will also be available online for downloading and printing."
ABOUT OKLAHOMA CHILD CARE RESOURCE & REFERRAL ASSOCIATION
The Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association Inc. is a private, not-for-profit organization that coordinates the statewide network of community-based child care resource and referral agencies. Founded in 1999, the association received funding from the Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Child Care Services, Sarkeys Foundation, United Way of Central Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Tribal Child Care Association to create the 2008 Portfolio. One of the association's primary responsibilities is to collect, analyze and report data about child care demand, availability, quality and cost within Oklahoma's communities and statewide.
Serving South Central Oklahoma, the ECU Child Care Resource & Referral Agency assists families in their search for appropriate care, supports child care providers in their efforts to provide high quality learning environments, and advises employers about cost-efficient ways to help employees with their child care needs. To obtain a copy of the Portfolio or for more information, call 580-436-5202 or 1-800-862-5593.
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