▶️ Grants, funds helping ease Central Oregon’s childcare crisis


The nonprofit NeighborImpact is working on expanding childcare options thanks to a large grant from the state.

“We are in a childcare desert and so what that means is that for every one childcare slot, there are three children who need childcare services,” said Associate Director of Grants Management for NeighborImpact Child Care Resources Hannah Keuhl.

To address the childcare crisis in Central Oregon, NeighborImpact is supporting the expansion of childcare services by providing funding and educational opportunities to childcare providers and those wanting to become childcare providers in the tri-county area.

“We’re really trying to target expanding, existing, and also trying to get more people in the industry. Ultimately we need both to get out of this childcare desert,” said Keuhl.



Funding for the program comes from an $8.2 million grant from the State of Oregon. The awards range from $5,000-$530,000.

“So the goal of this is to increase, enhance services both family providers and center-based providers,” said Keuhl.

“Hopefully, this will allow them to get back into the workforce and get full-time childcare for their children.”

More Oregon families now qualify for affordable childcare thanks to legislation passed in 2021.

The state expanded eligibility for the Employment Related Day Care Program.

The most significant change is that students in high school, a GED program or college can get child care even if they don’t work. They can get care based on how many hours they’re in school or studying.

There’s also more assistance for caretakers who work overnights.

Additionally, the state says a change in how part-time and full-time work is calculated means many families will now be eligible for help.

You can read the full press release from NeighborImpact here:

Central Oregon In an effort to address the child care crisis in Central Oregon, NeighborImpact is supporting the expansion of child care services by providing funding and educational opportunities to child care providers and persons wanting to become child care providers in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Funding for the program comes from an $8.2 million grant from the State of Oregon. Grants for child care providers, which include financial and programmatic support, are available to center-based and home-based providers, and to persons wanting to start a child care business. Award amounts range from $5,000 to $528,350, depending on the type of care provided, the number of children served and other considerations. Priority for funding will be given to providers who offer full-time care. 

The Child Care Expansion Project has awards available for providers at varying stages of their business; the intent is to help providers address their most pressing needs and learn how to get started in the industry. Some funding opportunities also include an educational component and direct business coaching, provided through a partnership with NeighborImpact Child Care Resources and the Small Business Development Center at Central Oregon Community College. This educational program focuses on best business practices to achieve and maintain financial success and strategy for creating child care businesses that encompass quality early childhood education. The program is built upon, and a continuation of, a successful pilot program developed for home-based child care providers between the two partners. 

The lack of child care services in the Central Oregon region has affected many community members and working families. One way to support this initiative and help address the need is by sharing this information with persons who are interested in opening, or who currently have, a child care business. One of the biggest hurdles to opening or expanding programs is the lack of available commercial and residential space. For persons who know of facilities that may be available to child care providers, please contact Hannah Kuehl at ccep@neighborimpact.org.

You can read the full press release from the state here:

Need to know

    • The Employment Related Day Care program is expanding effective Jan. 1
    • Students can now qualify to receive child care support regardless of their employment status
    • Many families will qualify for more child care assistance, including students for study time and caretakers who work night shifts

(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Early Learning Division (ELD) of the Department of Education are excited to announce expanded eligibility for affordable child care through the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program. The expansion took effect on Jan. 1 and is among the provisions of House Bill 3073 of the 2021 Legislative Session, which also creates the new Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC).

“For many families the cost of child care can be a barrier to meeting their educational goals and entering and staying in the workforce,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “By expanding access to the ERDC program, Oregon is significantly enhancing the support it provides to families to strengthen their well-being.” 

The primary changes to the program mean that students—in high school, a GED program, or  college—no longer need to work to qualify for the child care assistance. Plus, all students will receive additional child care hours each week for study time. Additionally, many families will qualify for more child care hours due to a change in the way part-time and full-time coverage is calculated.

The ERDC program, currently administered by ODHS, will move to DELC on July 1, 2023, when the agency is officially established. Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee shared her excitement about the expanded eligibility and the program’s transition.

“Continuing one’s education is a full-time job, and I am excited that individuals pursuing their education in Oregon will have access to affordable child care,” said ELD Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “This, along with the change to part-time and full-time hours, are critical steps toward making ERDC more accessible and more advantageous for families. I look forward to the program officially joining DELC alongside our other early learning and child care resources.”

Other provisions in the expansion include:

    • All ERDC families are now eligible for sleep hours when a caretaker works a night shift
    • Caretakers on medical leave for their own condition or their child’s can receive ERDC benefits
    • ERDC participants can continue to use their child care benefits when on leave to care for someone outside of their household

About the Oregon Department of Human Services

The mission of the Oregon Department of Human Services is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.

About the Early Learning Division

The ELD is a division within the Department of Education that is responsible for oversight of a statewide early care and education service delivery system. It is responsible for the administration of state and federal early care and education programs as well as the design and implementation of Oregon’s child care work. ELD values equity, dedication,


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