Bonamici Releases In-Depth Report on Oregon’s Child Care Crisis
WASHINGTON, DC [06/11/2020] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) released an in-depth report on the state of child care in Oregon and across the nation.
The report, “Child Care in Crisis: Solutions to Support Working Families, Children, and Educators,” was informed by 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.
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. Now many child care providers are on the brink of permanent closure because of COVID-19.
“Access to high-quality, affordable child care has always been fundamental to the well-being of families and children,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici wrote in the report. “As a mom of two, I’ve long recognized the importance of affordable and high-quality child care. It’s foundational to our economy, and will be a key factor in reopening our communities safely by making it possible for parents to return to work. Unfortunately, the child care sector faced serious challenges in Oregon and across our nation long before the COVID-19 pandemic. We need a dual focus; we must stabilize and vastly improve the system in ways that support the positive learning, growth, and development of children, the families who need child care, and the people who provide it.”
“The unrealistically high costs of child care are holding women, and single mothers especially, back from the economic mobility that we should all have,” said Laura Kirk. “As a single mom with two young kids, the only way I’ve been able to maintain work so I can support the three of us has been through the subsidies I qualified for during a time of unemployment—when I literally couldn’t afford to pay for child care and was let go from my job. This allowed me to qualify for the lowest-tier co-pay ($59 per month) of the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program for a year allowing me to work and begin to rebuild our lives. When reapplying at the beginning of this year, I lost my ERDC because I made a couple hundred dollars over the limit for an affordable co-pay; instead I had to adjust my schedule and providers so that I could afford to go to work. I chose this instead of letting go yet another job for not being able to afford child care, sabotaging my career, and once again have to rely on government assistance. I have always wanted to work, I just can’t afford to. Child care costs hold women back from our careers—not to mention career choices—and ability to provide for families.”
The report can be viewed and downloaded here. It describes:
- The pre-covid-19 child care crisis in Oregon
- How the pandemic exacerbated this crisis and created new problems
- Policy efforts to stabilize the industry during the pandemic
- A proposed path forward, including specific legislative actions