New state agency to oversee programs and services related to early learning and care throughout Oregon
We’re thrilled to announce that as of July 1, 2023, the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) is the official agency for early learning and child care policy and program administration throughout Oregon. That means Oregon’s families and child care professionals will now have one state agency dedicated to ensuring high-quality, family-centered and culturally appropriate early learning and care opportunities for families and child care professionals. To mark this exciting milestone, we now have a new name, look, email addresses, and website: oregon.gov/DELC.
As part of the launch, DELC created a new video introducing Oregonians to the new state agency:
“This is an historic step to ensure Oregon’s families and child care professionals get the resources, services, and programs they need to thrive,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, DELC Director. ”It positions our state as a leader in the early learning space. We know accessing child care is still a challenge for families, and our child care workers are facing multiple stressors. The launch of DELC is a milestone for our state, recognizing the importance of early learning and child care for Oregonians
The Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3073 in 2021, heralding the transition towards the launch of DELC. The agency brings together the Early Learning Division (ELD) and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program. ELD was a division of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) was a program of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS).
“The best way to support whole communities is to serve the needs of children and families. Bringing ERDC into DELC allows us to center the needs of children and families first and foremost. DELC is in the opportune position to work with families and providers, and design systems built for and with them” said Chatterjee.
Certain ERDC changes also take effect as of July 1. Families can now 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 those families more flexible child care assistance.
In addition, there will be fewer reasons for child care assistance to end mid-certification. Most cases will now stay open a minimum of 12 months. Cases will no longer close if a family is not connected to a child care provider. ERDC benefits will continue if a caretaker loses their job or stops attending school.
In the short term, Oregonians won’t notice much of a change. Even so, we are committed to minimizing the impact this launch will have, and ensuring those we serve know what to expect. That includes:
- Customer service phone numbers and social media pages will remain the same
- Early learning and care programs under ELD such as Preschool Promise will not change
- Child care licensing services and processes such as billing forms, payment processes, licensing applications, inspections and background checks, will remain the same
- Early Learning Division (ELD) staff will transition from ODE to DELC
- The ERDC program and staff (including the Direct Pay Unit) will transition from ODHS to DELC, but families will still apply for and receive benefits through ODHS
- ERDC eligibility has changed and more families can now get help paying for child care (learn more about ERDC eligibility changes here)
The launch of DELC is only the beginning of the benefits providers and families can expect. DELC staff will continue to listen to and learn from Oregon families and child care professionals on how to best support them and meet their needs. Over the next few years, unifying these agencies and programs under DELC will help:
- Enable greater alignment across major 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
- Promote culturally-specific and family-centered resources, services and programs for families and child care professionals
“DELC Is honored to support Oregon families and child care professionals through this unified agency. We thank our partners, supporters, child care professionals, and families for being part of the work to make Oregon’s early learning and care system as strong as possible. We are committed to continue working together to best meet the needs of children, families, and child care professionals across the state,” said Chatterjee.
About the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC)DELC is a new Oregon state agency that supports the development and wellbeing of all Oregon children and ensures families in every corner of the state have access to high-quality early learning and care. DELC also supports child care professionals by providing technical assistance, professional development opportunities, business services, licensing, grants and other resources. DELC was created by the Oregon Legislature in 2021 to unify and strengthen Oregon’s early learning system beginning July 1, 2023. DELC brings together the Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) and the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program. ELD was a division of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and ERDC was a program within the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). Visit oregon.gov/DELC learn more or visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. social media pages.