Children and Family Support Services

Oregonians show strong support for a wide variety of services that benefit children and families in our state.

From March 16-23, 2022, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs about services and policies that are commonly recommended for supporting Oregon children. The question numbers in this document correspond with the survey questionnaire (Q9-20a).  

Overwhelming Support for a Wide Variety of Services

Overall, Oregonians overwhelmingly support using their tax dollars to fund a broad array of family support services (Q9-20a). 

12 types of family support services were included in the survey. The number of total respondents who say they support each service never drops below 70%. Respondents express how they see these services benefiting different groups of people, including both children and parents: 

“These programs can reduce barriers for busy single parents who may struggle to find a doctor, take time off of work to bring kids to the clinic, or pay the bill when it comes due.” 

Woman, age 45-54, Douglas County, White 

“These services being offered above will definitely make a huge difference within the various cultural groups and prevent barriers from standing in the way of an overall healthy and a more productive future society.” 

Man, age 45-54, Multnomah County, Native American or American Indian and White 
 

“The world is a hard place to be as a child these days and the more support we can give them young the higher degree of success they may have.” 

Woman, age 55-64, Clatsop County, Native American or American Indian and White 

“When I was a student in Benton County, there were a lot of missed opportunities that my little town didn’t have the resources for. With the changes in society viewing mental health, I see a better future for kids today and tomorrow. We taxpayers need to step up and right the wrongs of yesterday.” 

Woman, age 30-44, Linn County, White 
 

“School-based health centers are necessary, especially in rural communities.” 

Woman, age 30-44, Tillamook, Asian or Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino/a/x and White 

Top Three Family Support Services

The three most popular family support services amongst Oregonians are the following:  

  • Providing one-on-one or small group tutoring for students who need extra support (92% of total respondents support this) (Q18). 
  • Increasing access to sports, clubs, the arts, and other extracurricular activities (85% of total respondents support this) (Q17). 
  • The SCHIP program that provides healthcare for eligible children (85% of Oregonians say they feel positively about the program) (Q9). 

In Their Own Words: Oregonians Emphasize Importance of Mental Health Services

In written statements, Oregonians particularly emphasize the importance of focusing on mental health services: 

“Literally anything we can do to increase access to mental health services for kids, I’m on board. There is a real crisis here that I don’t think we are addressing well.” 

Woman, age 30-44, Washington County, White 

“Mental health services are woefully lacking in this state. People talk about this but don’t do anything.” 

Woman, age 65-74, Jackson County, Native American or American Indian and White 

“With all that is happening with COVID, school or lack thereof and unaffordable child care the need for more behavioral health services has risen at a rapid rate.” 

Woman, age 55-64, Marion County, White 

Even Services With “Lowest” Ratings Supported by 7 in 10 Oregonians

Further emphasizing Oregonians’ overwhelming support for family support services, 70% or more Oregonians support their tax dollars going toward even the least popular services from the list (Q10-20).

“Developing and integrating culturally inclusive learning materials from early childhood through post-secondary education” is supported by 70% of total respondents (Q19). 

“Requiring cultural awareness and implicit bias training for school administrators, teachers, and staff” is also supported by 70% of total respondents (Q20). 

“Ensuring schools offer access to oral health care such as dental sealants and fluoride varnish” is supported by nearly three-out-of-four Oregonians (74%) (Q10). 

In Their Own Words: Concerns About Impact and Intention Around These Policies

For those Oregonians that have concerns about integrating cultural inclusive learning materials or bias training, there is some general confusion over what those terms mean, and whether or not they would have the effect of creating more division than unity. 

“Culturally appropriate’ is too subjective to be defined by the government.”  

Woman, age 55-64 , Columbia County, Native American or American Indian and White 
 

“Who is going to decide what cultural awareness and bias is? Who’s ‘truth’ gets taught? Whose history is the ‘real’ history? How are those questions decided?” 

Woman, age 65-74, Josephine County, Asian or Pacific Islander and Native American or American Indian and White 

“A number of studies show that mandatory implicit bias training often creates more racial tension then there would be without the training. Instead, you should address it directly when an inappropriate instance happens.” 

Woman, age 18-29, Clackamas County, Hispanic/Latina/x and White 

Demographic Trends

Identifying What Unites Us, Understanding What Divides Us

Reported below are statistically significant subgroup differences between BIPOC and white Oregonians, urban and rural Oregonians, and age groups.  Many of these differences are not major and are presented to inform public education and communications initiatives.   

Support for using tax dollars to fund family services is high across a variety of demographics.  

  • There are no significant differences in responses amongst those of different ethnicities, education levels, or income levels. Nor are there dramatic differences in the responses of those who live in urban areas vs. those who live in rural locations. 
  • For example, in Q16, when respondents are asked if they support using tax dollars to increase access to affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods for families, 81% of those who identify as BIPOC say they support this vs. 76% of Whites who say the same. Support from those in urban areas for this program is at 82% vs. 72% from rural Oregonians. 

The political affiliation of a respondent is the biggest determining factor in whether or not they are likely to support a family service. 

  • The difference in percentages of Democrats who support a given program vs. Republicans typically ranges between 20-40 points. 
  • For example, in Q15, when respondents are asked if they support using tax dollars to increase access to affordable housing, 91% of those who identify as a Democrat say yes vs. 64% of those who identify as Republican saying the same thing. 
  • The starkest difference between Democrats and Republicans occurs in Q19, when respondents are asked whether they support using tax dollars to develop and integrate culturally inclusive learning materials. 89% of those who identify as Democrat say they support this vs. 40% of those who identify as Republican saying the same thing. 
  • Several of those Oregonians who say they don’t support funding these programs articulated a belief that it is not the government’s, nor a school’s, job to handle these issues. Many explicitly state that they believe it is the parent’s job to handle things like healthcare, or teaching their kids about bias: 

“I definitely support providing these services, but the state should pay for it outright, and healthcare should not be a function of schools. Schools are becoming a catch-all for state/societal functions. That isn’t fair to teachers or school districts.” 

Man, age 18-29, Marion County, White 

“My basic problem with the state and or the schools providing these services is that the state and schools are taking over things that parents should be responsible for. We shouldn’t expect the state and schools to be our children’s’ parents.” 

Man, age 65-74, Morrow County, White 

“It is once again the parents job to see that these issues are taken care of with the exception of the suicide issue, but that could also be handled by parents restricting cell phones and computer usage.” 

Woman, age 65-74, Morrow County, White 

“Parents still have a responsibility to provide care for their children.  It is not the responsibility of the schools to provide health care.  However, access to mental health services could be the difference in a crisis situation.” 

Woman, age 55-64, Morrow County, White 

“I am not sure if Schools should have to become health clinics. If you want to have free clinics, then fund free clinics. Schools are not doing well at teaching right now. I find it hard to think of adding to what schools need to be responsible for.” 

Woman, age 55-64, Multnomah County, Asian or Pacific Islander and Native American or American Indian and White 

Some Oregonians say they support these programs, but wish they went further and could be applied to everyone in the country, like in the form of universal health care: 

“Health services for students? How about health services for everyone? I am a firm supporter of universal healthcare and feel that it would benefit all.” 

Man, age 45-54, Multnomah County, Hispanic/Latino/a/x and White 

“While I support all of these programs, what I’d really like to see is Medicare for All, which is less piecemeal, more comprehensive, and even saves money in the long run” 

Woman, age 55-64, Linn County, White 

While not as stark as political affiliation, there are also slight differences in the responses between women vs. men. Women are slightly more likely to support tax funding for a given family service or program than are men.  

  • For example, 82% of women respondents say they support providing culturally appropriate health services and supports to all children and families (Q11) vs. 73% of men who say the same. 
  • Another example: 77% of women support requiring cultural awareness and implicit bias training (Q20) vs. 62% of men who say the same. 

There are also slight differences in the responses between those of different generations. Generally, younger Oregonians are more likely to support a family service than those that are older. However, while these differences exist, the services included in the survey still receive high support across the age spectrum.  

  • For example, 88% of Oregonians between 18-29 years old say they support suicide prevention program in schools (Q14). 80% of Oregonians 75 years and older say the same thing. 
  • The gap between younger and older generations tends to widen when terms like “cultural awareness” or “bias training” are used. 
  •  When asked if they support access to culturally appropriate health services (Q11), 84% of Oregonians between ages 18-29 say they do vs. 67% of those 75 and older who say the same thing. 
  • When asked about requiring cultural awareness and implicit bias training for school staff, 78% of Oregonians between ages 18-29 say they support this, vs. 64% of those 75 and older who say the same. 

Finally, there are consistent differences in the responses between those who own property vs. those who rent:  

  • Those who rent are more likely to support a given family service or program than those who own. 
  • 90% of respondents who rent say they support suicide prevention programs (Q14), 79% of those who own say the same. 
  • 86% of those who rent say they support increasing family access to foods (Q16) vs. 69% of those who own property who say the same. 

Methodology: The online survey consisted of 1,563 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were contacted by using professionally maintained online panels. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation, and real-time monitoring of responses. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education. 

Statement of Limitations: Based on a 95% confidence interval, this survey’s margin of error, for the full sample, ranges from ±1.1% to ±1.9%. Due to rounding, numbers may not add up to 100%. 

This survey uses aggregated data to analyze the opinions of BIPOC residents in comparison to the opinions of residents who identify as white and not another race. BIPOC residents are not a monolith; the grouping represents a wide diversity of races and ethnicities. The findings included in this memo should not be construed such that all people of color are believed to share the same opinions. Disaggregated race data will be provided when sample sizes permit reliability. 

This research was completed as a community service by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, an independent and non-partisan organization. OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (https://oregonvbc.org).

For More Information:

Analysis and Reporting by: Hilary McGraw