HomeHealthHealth Care$22 million in grant funds will be available to Oregon child care...

$22 million in grant funds will be available to Oregon child care providers this winter – State of Reform

Oregon childcare providers will have the opportunity to apply for funding this winter through the Childcare Capacity Building Fund (CCCB).

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CCCBF co-chairs Amy Powers and Courtney Helstein discussed the grant program on Wednesday at a meeting of the House Interim Committee on Early Childhood. Powers said the state needs comprehensive childcare as slots are scarce and extremely expensive.

“These challenges got worse during the height of the pandemic, when many programs were crossing over their savings to try to stay open,” Powers said. “Some are closed for good. The fund aims to address slot scarcity by creating new capacity and programs across the state. And we’re focused on doing this in a way that addresses system barriers that have made it difficult for carriers. Mainly [for] suppliers who are black, indigenous and people of color to open, expand, and stay in business.”

sowing justice, a nonprofit that advocates for social justice, will manage the funds. Helstein said $22 million was allocated to Seeding Justice to invest in building the supply of available childcare in partnership with a community-based steering committee. Cultural-specific community organizations, tribal governments, educational institutions, childcare aid and referral agencies, early learning hubs, and joint labor management trusts are eligible for grants.

“We’ve been working since June to create the infrastructure to manage the funds and design a process where funds go to communities across the state to really meet those needs,” Helstein said.

Funds can be used for initial operating costs, business support, staff support, renovations and capital projects, Helstein said. Registered childcare providers, registered childcare providers, accredited childcare providers, nurseries, Head Start programs and school districts can apply.

Representative John Lively (D-Springfield) asked if there was any assurance that applicants receiving funds will be successful.

“The reality is that the failure rate of small businesses, and these are small businesses, is extremely high in the first year or two for many different reasons,” Lively said. “Getting enough space, getting permits and getting started is one thing. What is the plan or follow up after they are operational so that a year later we know we still have it?”

Helstein said grant distributors plan to audit award winners.

“We don’t just want to build in technical assistance through the grant award process,” Helstein said. “We also want to expand the services over the entire length of the project. This capacity building fund is funded through AARPA dollars and we are contracted to have those funds out by September 2025. Our goal is to do what we can to set up our fund so it’s not like, ‘OK, here’s the money, have fun.’ We will stay with these people and follow them through.”

Applications will be submitted in January 2023 and the first prizes will be distributed accordingly.

More information can be found at childcarefororegon.org/grants.

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