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Oregon expands child care benefits in response to COVID-19

The move is intended to help more low-income and working families access child care, while helping providers stay afloat.

Posted: Mar 17, 2020 2:36 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2020 2:40 PM

SALEM, Ore. — State officials announced on Tuesday that Governor Brown will have child care benefits expanded to cover more families during the response to coronavirus and resulting school closures.

“At a time when Oregon’s families are weathering numerous difficulties in their daily lives due to the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our economy, we need to do everything we can to make sure child care providers can keep their doors open so that parents can continue to work,” said Governor Brown.

The temporary changes are effective immediately, and are intended to help more low-income and working families access child care while keeping providers afloat during the state of emergency.


RELATED: Governor Kate Brown announces statewide school closures


Co-pays are being eliminated for eligible families, while access is being expanded. Instead of measuring eligibility at 185 percent of the federal poverty level — $4,040 per month for a family of four — it will be set at 250 percent of the federal poverty level or 85 percent of the state median income, whichever is higher for the family size. This translates to $5,899 per month for a family of four.

Meanwhile, child care providers will be able to continue to receive payments from DHS, even if children are unable to attend or if they have to temporary shut down during the state of emergency.

“It is important that we come together and help one another through this difficult time,” said Fariborz Pakseresht, Oregon DHS Director. “Child care providers play an important role in supporting families, and we want to make sure families can still access this important service.”

On Tuesday morning, the Oregon Department of Education released a statement encouraging child care providers to stay open, underlining that they are not affected by any of the latest social distancing mandates from state officials.

“Child care workers are essential to our workforce,” said Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. “I am thankful for the providers who continue to serve families during this uncertain time. Your work is just as important as doctors, nurses and other caregivers on the front lines.”

Providers and parents or caretakers can contact the DHS Direct Pay Unit with questions Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-699-9074.

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