Policy: Early Years
Most families in Oregon struggle to afford care for their kids. A minimum wage worker, typically a single mom, employed full time, earns only a fraction of the amount needed to survive modestly. Her wages simply do not cover housing and child care, let along other essentials. Oregon has been deemed a “child care desert” because of its lack of caregiving availability, let alone its affordability. In fact, Oregon is the third-least affordable state in the nation for licensed, center-based care. This threatens the healthy development and physical safety of thousands of Oregon children each year. With the advent of the Student Success Act, more resources will soon become available for preschool and other early-child services, but more needs to be done to ensure that these families not only survive but thrive.
Enact the universal pre-school proposal for low-income families that will be on the 2020 ballot. I support efforts to ensure that all children have access to an early learning experience that will boost their readiness and chances for success in school.
Decrease the high co-pay for families qualifying for employment-related day care subsidies (earnings below 183% of the poverty level).
Ensure that childcare workers receive better wages than currently are offered, by subsidizing high-quality programs through state and federal supports. This will attract talented caregivers, reduce turnover, and better reflect our values as Oregonians who care about our children.