Oregon’s child care systems are coming together under the new Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) starting July 1, 2023. Over the next few years, DELC will create more efficient systems to help families access child care, and better serve children across the state.
“This transition is years in the making, and it’s really exciting because it will allow us to make sure that families will have an easier time getting child care,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Oregon Early Learning System Director whose role will transition to DELC Director on July 1. “But first, we want to make sure that this transition allows the families and children we serve to continue to access services as we transition to becoming DELC.”
All child care and early learning programs in Oregon, including the Employment Related Day Care program, will be run by DELC. This will not change the way families get ERDC benefits. Families will continue to apply for and receive benefits through the Oregon Department of Human Services. In fact, more families will become eligible for ERDC beginning July 1.
As a new state agency, DELC will focus on building trust, being accountable and transparent, improving customer service, and ensuring quality, consistency and continuity across the early learning and care system.
The creation of DELC and migration of ERDC on July 1 is only the beginning of the benefits providers and families can expect. Over the next few years, migrating ERDC to DELC will help:
- Enable greater alignment across early learning and child care programs
- Maximize state and federal funding for early learning programs
- Create a more efficient and effective billing and licensing system for providers
- Support and strengthen the early learning and care workforce
“We know that accessing child care is a challenge for many Oregon families, and our child care providers and child care workers are under stress,” Chatterjee said. “That’s why we’re making these changes, so that we can serve more families and help streamline services to our child care providers.”
Here is what families and child care professionals can expect come July 1:
- New name, look, email addresses* and website
- ELD staff will transition from ODE to DELC
- The ERDC program and staff (including the Direct Pay Unit) will transition from ODHS to DELC (Important note: families will still apply for and receive benefits through ODHS)
- Changes to ERDC eligibility on July 1 mean more families can get help paying for child care (learn more here)
- Early learning and care programs under ELD such as Preschool Promise will not change
- Grantees will use a new grant management system to manage and submit claims
- Customer service phone numbers will remain the same
- Child care licensing services and processes such as billing forms, payment processes, licensing applications, inspections and background checks, will remain the same
“We are working hard to make sure it is a smooth one for Oregon families, child care professionals, and agency staff,” said Chatterjee. “As with any transition, we anticipate that issues may come up. We are committed to communicating early and often about programmatic and logistical changes to minimize disruptions and make sure partners know what to expect.”
July 1 is the beginning of a long-term strategy to strengthen and unify Oregon’s early learning and care system. DELC will continue to listen to and learn from Oregon families and child care professionals on how to best support them and meet their needs.
“DELC believes this transition will improve outcomes for Oregon children, create a more equitable system of care, increase accountability and transparency, and improve how we support our dedicated and hard-working early learning and care workforce,” said Chatterjee.