Bipartisan group of Oregon “legislator-parents” lead effort to reform Oregon’s little one care system | Native Information

Rep. Karin Power, D-Milwaukie, Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Washington County, Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, and Senator Kathleen Taylor, D-Milwaukie are making important improvements to Oregon’s public childcare system, the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program, and streamline the administration of childcare and early education programs in a new department for better access and stability.

HB 3073 focuses on integrating early childhood programs that allow for more seamless coordination and coverage of services. HB 3073 will also enable the state to be strategic in allocating federal funds and purchasing childcare to rebuild the sector. The bill will also provide immediate relief to Oregon’s most vulnerable families and better support childcare providers caring for families in Oregon’s ERDC program.

The bill outlines a number of improvements to the way the ERDC works, including:

  • Ensuring affordability for parents by limiting co-payments to a maximum of 7% of family income.
  • Increase the flexibility of the program for parents to use their childcare assistance outside of working hours.
  • Expansion of access to all income-entitled children and families, regardless of the documentation status.
  • Protecting children’s eligibility for at least one year, increasing the financial stability of providers and providing continuity in childcare.
  • Providing financial stability for service providers by paying after registration – no attendance, protecting children’s eligibility for at least one year, setting tariffs for service providers based on actual care costs.

“As legislative parents, we know firsthand how difficult it is to navigate Oregon’s childcare crisis.” says representative Karin Power. “I have a preschooler and a toddler and have always been a working parent. I deeply understand that childcare is an essential infrastructure that our state must now invest in. “

Rep. Zika says this is also an important issue for businesses across the state.

“We see small and large companies reporting absenteeism, fluctuation and staff shortages because there is no childcare in their region.” says Rep Zika. “The closure of childcare facilities is undermining Oregon’s economic recovery. We urgently need more childcare options for working families across Oregon, especially in central Oregon and our rural communities. My wife Zanthel and I always struggled to find adequate childcare. It is an important reason for my candidacy and one of the topics I hear about most often from my voters. “

MP Courtney Neron says the subject is very important to her not only as a mother but also as a former educator.

“As a teacher and parent, I know how important it is for children to receive high-quality early childhood care and education that does not start at the age of three or four, but from birth.” Rep. Neron explains. “So much brain development takes place between the ages of 0 and 5. We are doing families and our communities a great disservice if we do not offer them high-quality care options during these years. “

Senator Kathleen Taylor says HB 3073 will make our public child care system “more efficient and effective”.

“Our state childcare system is too complicated. These changes to our system are necessary to better serve people. ” says Senator Taylor, who also has school-age children. “HB 3073 will better enable us to make effective use of the federal childcare funding brought to Oregon under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). We need to make the passage of this law a priority. “

HB 3073 received universal, bipartisan support from Oregon’s House Committee on Early Childhood at the start of the legislative session, and also approved Oregon’s House Rules Committee. It is now on its way to the Oregon Joint Committee on Ways and Means before the House and Senate vote on it.

Main sponsors of the bill include Rep. Teresa Alonso León (D-Woodburn), Rep. Bobby Levy (R-La Grande, Enterprise, Echo) and Rep. Greg Smith (R-Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman & Wasco Counties) in in addition to the Reps. Zika, Power, Neron, and Sen. Taylor. Regular sponsors include Reps. Campos, Dexter, Fahey, Grayber, Helm, Holvey, Hudson, Kropf, Leif, Lively, Marsh, Owens, Pham, Prusak, Reynolds, Ruiz, Schouten, Brock Smith, Sollman, Valderrama, Wilde and Williams.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that a reliable childcare system is central to economic strength and resilience.” Rep Neron says. “We have the opportunity to recover from this crisis with improved access to care for Oregon’s children and improved stability for providers. It’s time to invest in this work and get it done. “

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