Salem – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Early Learning Division (ELD) of the Department of Education are excited to announce expanded eligibility for affordable child care through the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program. The expansion took effect on Jan. 1 and is among the provisions of House Bill 3073 of the 2021 Legislative Session, which also creates the new Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC).
“For many families, the cost of child care can be a barrier to meeting their educational goals and entering and staying in the workforce,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “By expanding access to the ERDC program, Oregon is significantly enhancing the support it provides to families to strengthen their well-being.”
The primary changes to the program mean that students—in high school, a GED program, or college—no longer need to work to qualify for the child care assistance. Plus, all students will receive additional child care hours each week for study time. Additionally, many families will qualify for more child care hours due to a change in the way part-time and full-time coverage is calculated.
The ERDC program, currently administered by ODHS, will move to DELC on July 1, 2023, when the agency is officially established. Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee shared her excitement about the expanded eligibility and the program’s transition.
“Continuing one’s education is a full-time job, and I am excited that individuals pursuing their education in Oregon will have access to affordable child care,” said ELD Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “This, along with the change to part-time and full-time hours, are critical steps toward making ERDC more accessible and more advantageous for families. I look forward to the program officially joining DELC alongside our other early learning and child care resources.”
Other provisions in the expansion include:
- All ERDC families are now eligible for sleep hours when a caretaker works a night shift
- Caretakers on medical leave for their own condition or their child’s can receive ERDC benefits
- ERDC participants can continue to use their childcare benefits when on leave to care for someone outside of their household
ELD created an infographic describing how the Jan. 1 changes to ERDC expands opportunities for families. It is available in five languages and is linked below.
To help meet the increased demand for child care slots, ODHS and ELD are partnering to expand provider capacity by recruiting licensed child care providers who do not accept ERDC into the program.