Oregon Governor Aims To Cut Child Care Assistance

The economy sucks, and we know it, but we have to make wise choices on how to make it better, not worse. In Oregon, we may be looking at worse if we don’t stop the Governer’s budget from being passed. 

Tens of thousands of children who are in Registered and Certified Child Cares in the sate of Oregon today depend on ERDC, or state subsidized child care assistance. Without this money, their parents couldn’t afford child care, which means that they couldn’t work. If they can’t work, they can’t pay their bills, and if they can’t do that, they loose their homes. 

In 2005, over 21,300 children in 10,700 families received assistance every month. 13,826 Registered and Certified Child Care Providers cared for these children every month. Only 22 percent of these children received their care in Daycare Centers. 78 percent were cared for by Registered and Certified In-Home Child Care Providers. 

Imagine over ten thousand families suddenly loosing their jobs causing over ten thousand Registered and Certified Child Care Providers to go out of business and join the unemployed population. 

This is what Governor Ted Kulongoski is proposing in his budget. Money is tight. We all know that. There has to be cuts in the budget. We understand that. The cuts cannot be from child care. Our economy would be mortally wounded if the ERDC (Employment Related Daycare Program) is cut. Other programs that are on the table for huge cuts are TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and the JOBS program. 

Picture a single mother struggling to pay for daycare, rent, and bills. Without EDRC, she would have to come up with hundreds of extra dollars per month to keep even one child in daycare. Imagine if she has three. It would be impossible for her to come up with the extra money, and without a job, she couldn’t pay rent or bills, and her family would become homeless. There are literally thousands of families in this situation right now, less than one paycheck away from homelessness. 

Now picture this. Tens of thousands of people loose their jobs over the next few weeks because they can no longer pay for daycare. Suddenly, the already struggling food banks are empty, and children play in the local homeless camps because shelters are full. It sounds like the scene from a “Save the Children” commercial shot in a third-world country, but the reality is that without this subsidy, scenes like this would pop up all over the state. 

People won’t be able to afford to work who have children. Literacy would plummet while crime skyrockets. Businesses would go under. More people would loose their homes. Services would no longer be available. 

Studies have shown that for every dollar that we pay into the care and education a child receives saves over two dollars by the time they reach adulthood because it guards against them turning to crime. Cutting child care assistance doesn’t sound like it will save money. It will cost us money. 

Even if you can afford to pay for daycare on your own, what if the daycare your child goes to relies on that subsidy to stay full? Daycares are already closing at an alarming rate. What do you do if it happens to yours? Hundreds of daycare centers and Registered In-home Providers depend on this as their income. That would add to the amount of people loosing their livelihoods and homes. 

What can you do? Stand up; make some noise, shout it from the rooftops that the Governor’s proposed budget cannot go through as it stands without doing irreversible damage to our already faltering economy. This is bigger than just cutting some daycare assistance money. 

How do you make some noise? A meeting will be held at Becky Goodman’s home. Becky is a Certified Childcare Provider in Gresham who has offered to invite you into her home to find out more about what how you can help. The meeting will be Friday, January 16th 2009 at 6 p.m. at AmazingMindsLearningCenter by Goodman Family Childcare LLC 1241 SE 212th Ave, Gresham, OR97030, (503)665-0825. 

For more information, go to AFSCME Local 132 Child Care Providers Together’s website at www.oregonccpt.com, or contact Faye at 503-370-2522, 800-521-5954 X30, or shoot her an email at faye@oregonafscme.com. 

You don’t have to be a provider to come to this meeting. If you or anyone you know receives ERDC, TANF, or is in the JOBS program, these changes will affect you immediately. 

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