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House Bill 3073: A Response to Child Care and Early Learning System by Patti Littlehales


The goal of House Bill 3073 is to create a child care and early learning system that is more responsive to the needs of children, families, and providers, particularly our most vulnerable families. A single agency positions Oregon to best support funding and expansion opportunities with state and federal resources. This will help the new agency grow the supply of child care (especially in rural communities) and ensure equitable access in support of children, families, and providers. The legislation builds on Oregon’s work to increase access to affordable, high-quality learning experiences and supports for children and families by establishing a new early learning agency. The new agency, the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC), will consolidate early child care services into one state agency, including licensing, registration, and the distribution of state and federal child care funds. Most of these key functions currently exist in the Early Learning Division (ELD), which is part of the Oregon Department of Education. One of the programs that will be moving into the new agency is the Employment Related Day Care Program (ERDC). ERDC is currently housed in Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). ERDC is a child care subsidy program, providing low-income families with access to stable, quality child care. The program helps parents maintain stable employment on their path to self-sufficiency and allows children to access high-quality early care and education programs. The legislation also establishes additional eligibility and subsidy policies for ERDC to expand access and flexibility for families and providers across the state.


TIMELINE:

  • JUNE 2021 HB 3073 passes Legislature.

  • SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 Progress report due to Legislature to address: 1) Progress on the transfer of child care assistance programs, including the ERDC subsidy program, to the ELD; 2) Progress on efforts to strengthen the alignment of the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) services within the statewide early learning system; and 3) Progress on the adoption of rules related to school-age child care.

  • JANUARY 15, 2022 Two progress reports are due to the Legislature: The first report will outline key components for further consideration. The report will include improved budget and staffing impacts and the following: 1) Progress on the transfer of background checks inspections for the ERDC program to the ELD; 2) Recommendations for and progress on the transfer of child care assistance programs, including the ERDC to the ELD; 3) Recommendations to strengthen the alignment of the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSES) services within the statewide early learning system, including any recommended changes to governance, policymaking, or other oversight of the system; 4) Progress on the adoption of school-age child care administrative rules. The second report will be on the fiscal impact and timeline of eligibility changes to the ERDC program, including how the new department will merge technology systems. This may include recommendations to prolong timelines beyond June 30, 2023 or additional investments as needed.

  • SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 The ELD, Oregon Department of Education, and ODHS will report to the Legislature on implementation plans for the seamless transfer of duties, functions, and powers to the new agency.

  • JANUARY 1, 2023 The Department of Early Learning and Care is established,

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