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Oregon Commission for Child Care
Child care is a fact of life today and parents of very young children are in the workforce in record numbers. Child care provides an essential infrastructure, enabling parents to be employed outside the home and earn necessary income.
As the need for child care has grown, so has the interest in the issue of child care quality. Brain research tells us that a child's early years are critical for normal growth and development. With so many of our children in care, we must care what is happening to them. At the heart of high quality child care are the interactions between children and caregivers. Research shows that children develop best if relationships are warm, supportive, responsive and intellectually stimulating.  In recent years substantial progress has been made in Oregon towards improving child care and early learning. We have many dedicated providers, career development opportunities, a resource and referral network, and improved health and safety standards.
However, the availability and affordability of good quality child care varies across our state. The care that every child deserves is too expensive for many families to purchase. The supply of infant-toddler care, care for children with special needs, and rural care is insufficient. Low wages and lack of benefits challenge the recruitment and retention of providers. Workplace support in terms of flexible hours and paid leave is lacking.
There is much work needed in long term planning for child care. Oregon has taken some important and essential steps, but much more must be done to engage the business, health care and education communities. Caring for the very young is one of our most important responsibilities. Even in difficult economic times, we must move toward the vision that all children will benefit from quality early education.
I hope you find this website useful in learning more about the Oregon Commission for Child Care. I invite you to contact us and describe your experience finding child care in your community.
Rosetta Wangerin
Chair, Commission for Child Care