FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2023
New agency positions the state as a national leader in designing early learning and care systems to better meet the needs of children and families
SALEM, ORE – The Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) officially launched July 1, 2023, aiming to unify, strengthen, and expand Oregon’s early learning and care system for families and child care professionals. The agency brings together the Early Learning Division (ELD) and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program to create one central agency for early care and education policy and program administration.
“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 national 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 in the journey to strengthen and unify Oregon’s early learning and care system.”
ELD was a division of the Oregon Department of Education, and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) was a program of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) that helps families pay for child care.
Certain ERDC changes also took effect on 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.
Additionally, 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 addition to the name change, DELC launched a new website: oregon.gov/DELC and a new brand that celebrates the relationship between child care professionals and the families they serve.
The transition started after the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3073 in 2021. The launch of DELC is the culmination of over a decade of work, including extensive community input, to center children and families and strengthen the early learning system in Oregon.
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 systems.
Over the next few years, unifying these agencies and programs under 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
- Promote culturally-specific and family-centered resources, services, and programs for families and child care professionals
Chatterjee says 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.
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.
Media Contact: Christina Cortez-Bannick, Christina.Cortez-Bannick@DELC.oregon.gov