May 26, 2023 | Child Care Update

IN THIS ISSUE: Starting July 1, 2023 Families Receiving Cash Assistance Can Also Receive Help Paying For Child Care, OSU release a report on Oregon’s Child Care Desert, a new Jumpstart Kindergarten Toolkit is announced by ODE

Starting July 1, 2023 Families Receiving Cash Assistance Can Also Receive Help Paying For Child Care

On July 1, the new Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) is expanding eligibility for affordable child care through the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program. Families will now be able to receive cash assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and get help paying for child care from ERDC at the same time. The current TANF child care program will end because ERDC will provide families more flexible child care assistance.

Starting July 1, there will be fewer reasons for child care assistance to end within 12 months. Cases will no longer close if a family cannot find a provider within three months. ERDC benefits will continue if a caretaker loses their job or stops attending school.

We invite providers to share this information with families they already serve through the 7/1 ERDC Flyers, available in 5 languages (link in all languages below). Additionally, if a provider would like to be listed with ODHS as a program that accepts ERDC families, there is more information on the ODHS website about how to become listed.


What is a child care desert? A child care desert is an area where at least three children exist for every child care slot available. Severe deserts are defined as having at most one slot for every 10 children.  

According to a new report from Oregon State University, child care slots for Oregon’s young children grew by almost 5% from March 2020 to Dec. 2022. This was thanks, in part, to increased public funding for child care and early learning programs.  

“The increased availability of child care slots since 2020 demonstrates the effectiveness of public investments and federal relief. It’s a good sign, but we can’t lose momentum,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Early Learning System director at the state Early Learning Division. “We need to continue these investments in early learning and child care, and communities agree.”  

Since March 2020, eight of Oregon’s 36 counties have moved out of desert status for preschool-aged kids, and another eight became less severe deserts for infants and toddlers.   

 “We’re seeing a lot of those counties coming out of desert status because of the additional supply being developed from public funding,” said Michaella Sektnan, co-author on the report and senior faculty research assistant in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. 

Read the full release and view the OSU Child Care Desert Report. Or, see the infographics from the report.   

The report drew its data from multiple programs administered by the state’s Early Learning Division, including Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten, Preschool Promise and Baby Promise. Researchers also included numbers from federal Head Start/Early Head Start, tribal Head Start, and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs. On the private side, data came from Find Child Care Oregon, which is administered by Central Coordination of Child Care Resource and Referral, with data gathering partnership from statewide Child Care Resource and Referral agencies.

Jumpstart Kindergarten Toolkit 

We are excited to announce the release of the Jump Start Kindergarten Toolkit! The toolkit provides resources for planning and implementing high-quality summer kindergarten transition programs, such as suggestions for collaborating with local early learning partners, family engagement and classroom curriculum examples, and ready-to-print flyers, banners and yard signs promoting early registration to kindergarten.

Click for more information.