The Early Link – Oregon, National Reports Provide Child Well-being Data, Address Need for Continued Investment in Early Childhood

Join us Sundays at 4:30pm  for new episodes of The Early Link Podcast. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at PRP.fm.

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Jenifer Wagley and Chris Coughlin from Our Children Oregon about their advocacy work, and what the data is telling us about children and families in Oregon and across the country.


Jenifer Wagley is the CEO and Executive Director of Our Children Oregon, an advocacy and research organization committed to improving child well-being statewide so all children and youth can achieve their full potential. The organization was born under her leadership after she successfully led the merger of two historic Oregon organizations, Children First for Oregon and The Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon. Jenifer brings more than 15 years of deep experience in community development, grass-roots power building, and organizational leadership. She was a 2018 recipient of the national Local Initiative Support Corporation Rubinger Fellowship. Jenifer spent her fellowship year working to build bridges across a divided nation. Her time spent writing, researching, traveling the country, and presenting and engaging diverse audiences eventually led her to Oregon. Jenifer is driven by her passion to create a more equitable, healthy, and loving society.

Chris Coughlin has extensive policy, advocacy, communications, coalition management, and outreach experience. She has worked with communities, non-profits, political campaigns, and businesses, as staff, consultant, and volunteer on a wide range of issues for more than 30 years. Chris has focused much of her work in non-profit management having served as Executive Director of several non-profits. Chris has worked on policy issues impacting children and families including child welfare, health care, education funding, and tax and revenue issues.


Jennifer provides an overview of Our Children Oregon and describes the organizations “whole-child philosophy.” Next, Jennifer and Chris describe the state trends in child well-being found in the KIDS COUNT Data Book and share what story the 32 years of data is telling us about how Oregon’s children are doing. They also describe what the data tells us about the impacts of COVID on children and families and discuss the benefits of the new Child Tax Credit. Finally, Jennifer and Chris look ahead to the next 30 years of data collection and share what changes they hope to see for children nationally and in Oregon.

Additional Resources:

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

CBS News 2021 Child Tax Credit Information

IRS Child Tax Credit FAQ

2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book


Rafael Otto, Director of Communications, Children’s Institute

~ Thanks to Children’s Institute, working to ensure that every child in Oregon has the best start in life

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