Since 1985, Samaritan Health Services (SHS) has operated the only subsidized child care facility in north Lincoln County, the Samaritan Early Learning Center (SELC). The SELC was opened due to a community needs assessment that was done with many partner organizations in Lincoln County. Through this process, we discovered that child care for low-income and low-income Spanish-speaking families was not available in north Lincoln County. A group of community organizations led by SHS agreed it was important to offer quality child care to support the most vulnerable parents in north Lincoln County.
SELC opened its doors at the Lincoln City Grange Hall. As the request for child care continued to grow, community leadership recognized the need for a more modem and larger facility. In partnership with Lincoln City, North Lincoln Health District, and Oregon Coast Community College, SHS and Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital Foundation raised more than $1.3 million locally to build the new SELC that opened its doors in 2011 on the Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital campus.
The SELC currently has its maximum capacity of 80 children enrolled in the facility with ages ranging from six weeks to eight years old. During 2016, 124 children were enrolled in the program. Since its opening, the SELC has served more than 1,000 children. To demonstrate the quality of care, the SELC staff participated in the state of Oregon’s new Education and Quality Investment Partnership program (EQUIP). The program’s aim is to improve quality child care, strengthen the early childhood care and education workforce, and prepare children for success in school. As a result of participating in the EQUIP program, the SELC has successfully achieved the Oregon Program of Quality designation. To achieve this designation, staff must meet research-based standards for program quality, including collaborative family partnerships, child development and learning, health and safety practices, developmental environments and effective administration and business practices.
The leadership within SHS including the CEO of Samaritan Health Services, the CEO of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital as well as community leaders such as the chair of the North Lincoln Health District and the Mayor of Lincoln City, contributed to development and construction of the new SELC. As the community leaders and key stakeholders met, they retained their common focus of building a new child care facility in Lincoln City. The leadership understood that to make the project successful, they had to work together as a team and leave personal agendas outside the meetings.
The future goals of the SELC are to become a site for an Early Head Start program and to continue to have staff participate in training and education to retain Oregon Program of Quality designation.
Contact: Julie Manning
Vice President, Marketing/Public Relations