Every county in the state is facing shortages in child care and early childhood education opportunities. Oregon's working families deserve quality early learning providers that are affordable and accessible. Most communities don’t have the necessary resources to fund new early childhood facilities and pay for staffing that will provide child care and early learning opportunities for more families.
The state needs to invest in two key areas to address the child care crisis: building more facilities and strengthening the workforce. Working on both of these issues simultaneously will give Oregonians what they need when it comes to early care and education.
Right now, the Oregon Legislature is voting on two bills that will help address the crisis:
• House Bill 3005 will create an Early Childhood Infrastructure Fund to guarantee that child care providers can access the funding they need to purchase and maintain quality facilities. Early childhood education advocates are seeking $100 million to fund immediate facilities expansion.
• House Bill 5013 would permit a 10% increase to programs that would allow for improvements to compensation or wages & benefits. This increase would help keep and attract qualified staff to provide early learning opportunities for more children
Without sustained investment in early childhood infrastructure and workforce the lack of available services will have profound impacts on children, families, and care providers throughout Oregon. By prioritizing early childhood investments, we can improve the availability of top-notch early learning and care, create opportunities for healthy development for our youngest children, support working families, strengthen the state economy, and ensure the well-being and future success of our children.
Please send letters to your legislators today. It is important that supporters and parents share your story with legislators on protecting Head Start funding. You can download a template letter here. Please feel free to personalize – you can use the highlighted sections of the letter as a guide.