Published December 2020 | RESEARCH and PUBLICATIONS

Child Care in Rural Oregon

Bold Approaches to Address Systemic
Inequity and Rebuild Child Care

In 2019 the Center for American Progress reported that 90% of Oregon was in a child care desert (an area where there is only one child care slot for every three children who need care). Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, child care centers closed down, and many have yet to re-open. Child Care Aware of America estimates that Oregon’s statewide child care capacity has declined by about 22% since March of this year, with the largest decline occurring in the highest quality settings, where availability has dropped by over 45% during the first six months of 2020.

Leaders across the state and nation are deeply concerned about ensuring that Oregon’s children receive high-quality early education, and that hard-working Oregon families have the child care supports they need to succeed. Many of these leaders have joined the Center for American Progress in calling for industry recovery via a multi-faceted approach that underscores many of the key issues raised in this paper, including the need for:

  1. Cost-Based Reimbursement Rates
  2. Lower Family Co-Payments
  3. Stable and Consistent Funding, based on enrollment, and administered as slot contracts
  4. Support for provider networks structured as Shared Services Alliances
  5. A Regulatory Framework appropriate for small sites, like micro-centers and learning hubs


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