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Department of Early Learning and Care

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The mission of the Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) is to foster coordinated, culturally appropriate and family-centered services that recognize and respect the needs of all children, families and early learning and care professionals. Our vision is that children, families, early care and education professionals and communities are supported and empowered to thrive.

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DELC Transition Overview

The Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) is a new Oregon state agency that supports the development and well-being of all Oregon children and ensures families in every corner of the state have access to high-quality early learning and care. DELC also supports child care professionals by providing technical assistance, professional development opportunities, business services, licensing, grants and other resources. DELC was created by the Oregon Legislature in 2021 to unify and strengthen Oregon’s early learning system. On July 1, 2023, DELC was established, bringing together the Oregon Early Learning Division (from the Department of Education) and the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program (from the Department of Human Services).

For more information about DELC and what to expect in the implementation, please see the flyer below:

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House Bill 3073: Creating the New Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC)

In 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3073, which provided for the next evolution in early learning and child care in our state.

House Bill 3073 established a new early learning agency – called the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) – that consolidated all child care programs and early care and education programs in one place beginning January 1, 2023.

As part of this consolidation, the Employment Related Day Care program (ERDC) moved to the new agency. ERDC is a child care subsidy program originally housed in the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) that exists to help parents maintain stable employment on their path to self-sufficiency and to help children access high-quality child care. Both of which increase a child’s likelihood of success in school and beyond.

DELC was created to provide a more responsive child care and early learning system that can address the needs of children, families and providers, particularly our most vulnerable families.

As a single agency, DELC allows Oregon to better support funding and expansion opportunities, grow the supply of child care, and ensure equitable child care access in support of families, children, and providers.

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Equity Commitment

Our communities that are historically furthest from opportunity represent Oregon’s best opportunity to improve educational outcomes. African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Native Americans, rural communities and families living in economic hardship are the focus of our work so children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. Strength-based approaches and asset-based mindsets will support our efforts to institutionalize equity and help all families thrive.

Our Division supports culturally responsive services – services that respond to the aspects of diverse communities – that are respectful of and relevant to the beliefs, practices, culture and linguistic needs of diverse populations and communities. To support children to learn and families to thrive, we support differentiated, family-centered resources and support. This work requires knowledge and capacity at different levels of intervention: systemic, organizational, professional and individual.

DELC is committed to providing all children and families spaces where they feel respected, valued and have the best opportunities to thrive.

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The Director and the Executive Team

Alyssa Chatterjee is Oregon’s first Department of Early Learning and Care director. She has focused on early learning policy throughout her time working for the State of Oregon beginning in 2012. Prior to her appointment as the Early Learning System Director in 2021, Alyssa served as Governor Kate Brown’s deputy education policy advisor. In addition to advising on early learning policy, Alyssa supported the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, served as co-convener of the Governor’s Racial Justice Council, and continues to support the work of the Council’s Education Recovery Committee.

Alyssa was among the first employees at the Early Learning Division (ELD), when it was formally created. She served in a variety of roles at ELD engaged in policy and planning, including as a policy advisor and legislative coordinator for the agency. As a member of ELD’s executive team, she helped guide the state’s early learning strategic planning process for the five-year statewide early learning system plan, Raise Up Oregon. She is excited to support the continued evolution of early learning in Oregon.

Executive Team

  • Cooper Brown, chief operations officer
  • Alicia Gardiner, office of child care director
  • David Mandell, chief of policy and research
  • Heather Thomas, human resources director
  • Kate Gonsalves, strategic communications director

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