Bonamici Relaunches Oregon Child Care Advisory Board
WASHINGTON, DC [02/19/2021] – This week Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) relaunched her Oregon Child Care Advisory Board to address the growing child care crisis.
The Board is a group of child care providers, parents, and advocates who have been meeting with the Congresswoman as she works to stabilize and vastly improve child care infrastructure in Oregon and across the country. Bonamici has continued her push for child care to be a top priority in the next COVID-19 relief package, helping secure$40 billion of child care support in the American Rescue plan. Oregon would receive an estimated $406 million for child care if the bill is signed into law.
“As a mother of two, I know how essential quality child care is for working families, children, and our economy,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Throughout the pandemic I’ve heard from parents, especially mothers, who have had to endure impossible situations as they strive to care for their children while continuing to work to support their family. I’ve also heard from child care providers who are struggling to receive the support they need to keep their doors open. I’m working with the Oregon Child Care Advisory Board to address these problems. The Board members bring first-hand experience to the table, and their advice has been very helpful. I look forward to continuing to work together until Oregon families have access to affordable and high-quality child care.”
"As has been demonstrated by this pandemic, child care is an essential service and as such needs to receive the economic and programmatic support to make this valuable resource available to all families," said Donalda Dodson, Executive Director of the Oregon Child Development Coalition. "Quality child care assists families in achieving work-life and family goals."
“COVID-19 has laid bare a longstanding child care crisis," said Dana Hepper, Director of Policy & Advocacy for Children’s Institute. "Systemic gaps in supporting access to opportunity begin before the age of 5 and stay in place throughout a child’s life. The time is now to build a child care system that works for children, families, and child care providers, and hastens our economic recovery.”
Bonamici launched the inaugural Oregon Child Care Advisory Board in September. At the start of each Congress, she selects 12 members to serve as part of the group. The members of the Oregon Child Care Advisory Board this Congress are:
- Donalda Dodson, Executive Director, Oregon Child Development Coalition
- Rachel Hansen, Statewide Childcare Coordinator, SEIU
- Shani Harris-Bagwell, Political Director, Imagine Black
- Dana Hepper, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Children’s Institute
- Anthony Castaneda, Policy Manager, Latino Network
- Zakkiyya Ibrahim, Owner/Director, Education Explorers, LLC
- Eva Manderson, NW Regional Child Care Resource and Referral Director, NW Regional Education Services District
- Hadiyah Miller, Black Child Development Coalition
- Andrea Paluso, Executive Director, Family Forward Oregon
- Laura Rawlins, Co-founder and Deputy Director, Funny Farm Early Learning Center, Inc
- Sara Stearns, Executive Director, Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children (ORAEYC)
- Patricia Alvarado, Director of Education Programs, Adelante Mujeres
Bonamici has long advocated for increased investments in the child care system, especially during COVID-19. All 36 counties in Oregon were considered to be child care deserts for infants and toddlers before the pandemic, with only one child care slot for every three children who need care. The pandemic has pushed many child care providers to the brink of permanent closure.
Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, Bonamici has led two efforts to make child care a priority in the next COVID relief package, one with the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the other with Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA). Last Congress, Bonamici helped secure increased investments in child care through the Child Care Is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, both of which passed the House.
Bonamici released an in-depth report on the state of child care in Oregon last year based on conversations with Oregon child care providers, early childhood educators, parents, and other advocates. It contains many of their stories and outlines a legislative path forward.