Central OR – Oregon is experiencing a true crisis in infant and toddler child care. The state lacks a supply of quality child care options for our youngest children. There are many barriers that families face when securing child care, including long wait lists, limited choices of available providers, a lack of quality care facilities and costs of care that rival the cost of college tuition. This lack of availability and affordability has a ripple effect of negative consequences now felt by local economies as employers struggle to recruit and retain staff that cannot find or afford child care.
To combat this state-wide crisis, the Early Learning Division is launching a pilot program called Baby Promise. After collecting letters of interest from 12 of Oregon’s 13 Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, the Early Learning Division has selected three to be the recipients of funding and supports for launching the pilot. NeighborImpact Child Care Resources, serving Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, is one of the three organizations selected to launch the program.
Baby Promise will provide fully-funded quality child care for 109 children from ages six weeks to three years through multiple providers in the tri-county area. In order to ensure the quality of the child care being provided, NeighborImpact Child Care Resources will employ an infant/toddler specialist, among others, who will work directly with providers to provide training and maintain quality care. The program will also provide funding for high quality materials to enhance early education environments. Thanks to a partnership with Central Oregon Early Learning Hub, each provider will also receive business coaching.
Targeted specifically to increase support for low-income families as well as providers, the child care slots will be reserved for families at or below 185% of the federally defined poverty level. Baby Promise will operate as a pilot for one year, with the hopes of extending beyond the pilot to continue the program in future years, pending the collection of data to demonstrate the overall success of the program.
About NeighborImpact Child Care Resources: Child Care Resources strives to strengthen child care in Central Oregon to support the workforce. We work to promote the success of child care providers and early educators in Central Oregon by connecting them to technical assistance, consultation, certification, information and training. NeighborImpact offers these resources to help child care and early education providers enhance their skills and strengthen their business.