REDMOND, OR -- A new state pilot program launching in Central Oregon aims to address the region’s lack of sufficient childcare. The Oregon Department of Education awarded grants for the Baby Promise program to three organizations in six counties, including NeighborImpact in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties. About a dozen agencies applied.
Rachel Haakenson, with NeighborImpact, says they'll work with a handful of local childcare providers. "We’ll be providing professional development, equipment, materials and curriculum," she explains, "As well as fully fund 109 childcare slots in Central Oregon through multiple childcare providers that have not yet been selected, but we’re guessing somewhere around 14." Haakenson tells KBND News, "The idea here is not just to increase childcare slots in the area, but also to make sure those are quality childcare providers."
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The slots paid for by NeighborImpact will be reserved for infants or toddlers in families at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. The grant package, valued at around $2.3 million was just announced this week, and Haakenson says there's still a lot of planning that needs to happen, "It’s a lot, kind of, on the horizon. A lot of the details of the program are still being worked out. We’re anticipating – we hope to identify and fill these slots sometime between April and July, possibly."
Haakenson hopes to see Baby Promise eventually roll out statewide.