Securing funding to increase the early childhood facility infrastructure is a top priority for the Oregon Head Start Association. This week, OHSA submitted testimony supporting House Bill 3005, which would create a new $100 million fund for infrastructure projects that would allow child care providers to serve more children.
The letter submitted to the committee highlighted challenges programs are facing, from rising operating costs, workforce and labor shortages, and the need for more space to expand programs and serve more children.
A key challenge for early learning programs has historically been finding the funding needed to purchase, renovate, or lease additional classroom space. Often times, programs must be really creative to figure out how to add additional space to accommodate children or expand. We believe that HB 3005 would make a significant impact in helping early learning programs add classroom space to better prepare Oregon’s youth for kindergarten.
In a statement to the Oregon Capital Chronicle, Oregon’s early learning system director, Alyssa Chatterjee, stated, ““The child care sector does face a crisis of available, affordable child care across the state.” HB 3005 works to address these needs and OHSA look forward to working with the committee.
In 2023, our legislative request is focused on addressing these challenges, and working to ensure every low-income family, and their children have an opportunity to participate in a Head Start program. Over the next six months, we will be monitoring bills that will impact local Head Start programs in Oregon. You can view the OHSA legislative priorities here. We will let you know about opportunities for you to get involved and support these critical programs.