The Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) reminds families that the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program will open a waitlist next week. The ERDC program helps families pay for child care through state and federal funds. The ERDC waitlist, announced last month, will open after an unprecedented increase in demand and limited available funding. Families should apply by November 3, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. if they think they may be eligible.
“We want to be sure families have had ample opportunity to apply for ERDC before the program opens a waitlist. We also want families to know there are other affordable child care programs they may qualify for,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Director of DELC. “The good news is that the increase in ERDC enrollment means the recent changes to the program allow it to work better for families. We will continue working with the Legislature to identify more funding to support the program.”
Here is what families need to know:
Families currently receiving ERDC will continue to receive benefits as usual after November 3, 2023.
Families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level (e.g., up to $5,000 per month for a family of four) may be eligible for ERDC and are encouraged to apply right away.
Families can apply in the following ways:
Go to Benefits.Oregon.gov
Visit or call their local office
Families can text the word “children” to 898211 or call 211 if they need help finding their local office or figuring out how to apply to ERDC.
Some families outlined in Oregon rule can skip the waitlist:
Families recently or currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Temporary Assistance for Domestic Violence Survivors (TA-DVS)
Families referred by the Child Welfare division of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS)
Families reapplying for ERDC within two months of benefits ending.
After November 3, 2023, families applying for ERDC that do not meet an exemption above will be placed on a waitlist. DELC will regularly follow up with families on the waitlist to provide updates.
The waitlist is likely to be in place for at least 18 months, depending on the level of investment and the rate at which families leave the program.
Families who need support paying for child care after November 3, 2023 are encouraged to reach out to 211 or their local Early Learning Hub to learn more about programs such as Preschool Promise and Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten.
Once more funding becomes available and enrollment drops to a sustainable level, families will be selected from the waitlist based on the date they were added. The first to apply will be the first selected for eligibility screening and potential enrollment. Once a family is selected from the waitlist, they will receive a notice inviting them to apply for ERDC within 45 days.
Go to Oregon.gov/DELC/ERDC to learn more.