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City Club of Eugene: Who Cares For Kids? Lane County's "Child Care Desert"

Program Date: July 23, 2021

Air Date: July 26, 2021

From the City Club of Eugene:

Recently, OSU published a new report titled, “Oregon Child Care Deserts 2020.”

And as anyone looking for affordable care in Lane County knows: the news is not good.

Lane County does not have enough child care spaces available for its infants and toddlers—qualifying our community as a “child care desert,” meaning that for every 3 children under the age of 2, there is only 1 child care space available.  

The lack of available, affordable, quality care impacts every family and the local community at large, but hits moderate- and lower-income families particularly hard.  Policy makers have openly observed that, for many families, “it’s housing or child care.” The annual cost of care on Oregon is more than in-state college tuition—Oregon has the 4th highest child care costs in the nation—but sector leaders also acknowledge that most child-care centers operate on razor-thin margins. The labor-intensive industry is largely subsidized by the low compensation of its care providers, most of whom are women and particularly women of color. Intensive work and low compensation are not a recipe for new workforce recruitment, which makes child care even more scarce and competitive.

What can be done at the local, state and even national level? Our speakers today will illuminate Lane County’s unique local challenges and opportunities, as well as possible solutions from a variety of perspectives.

Speakers:

Alyssa Chatterjee, Acting Director of the Oregon Department of Education Early Learning Division.

Cindy Bellamy is the director and owner of Oak Street Child Development Center.

Cheryl Henderson is Manager of the Lane Child and Family Center located at Lane Community College.

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