In 2019, the Oregon Child Care Research Partnership at OSU calculated that there were only enough slots, both publicly and privately funded, for 38% of preschoolers in Multnomah County. This analysis was before COVID-19 took a huge toll on child care providers and before the Preschool for All measure was approved by voters, creating even more demand.
Even in easier times when providers were ready to expand or improve their space, they experienced major hurdles. A September 2021 report, Challenges and Barriers to Increasing Early Childhood Education Capacity in Multnomah County, detailed numerous, interwoven, and entrenched challenges and barriers for child care providers that want to expand or establish new child care facilities.
- Licensing for child care facilities includes many regulations and very specific requirements that help to keep children healthy and safe. These requirements greatly increase the cost of retrofitting spaces.
- There are also costs and barriers associated with various city permits and code that can be difficult to understand and navigate.
- There are currently no dedicated public funding sources for child care facilities and many banks are unwilling to provide loans to child care providers because of their low profits and lack of collateral.
- These issues are particularly acute for Black, Indigenous, and providers of color affected by the systemic inequities in public, private and, financial services.
To address this need and ensure that all children in the county have access to preschool, SVP Partners and collaborators launched the Child Care Facilities Initiative (CCFI) with the goal of shifting the Portland-metro child care facilities market in five years to more efficiently and effectively connect supply and demand with minimal subsidies and interventions.
CCFI will take a three-pronged approach to addressing the current deficit of needed facilities:
- Research and information for informing relevant players about facilities needs, processes, demand, supply, and public funding
- Convening of public agencies, private interests, and child care providers to detail and advocate for changes that will reduce or eliminate facility-related challenges and barriers
- Modeling and demonstration projects that create new or expanded child care facilities in replicable models
Further, CCFI will:
- Prioritize needs and opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and child care providers of color, geographically underserved communities, and home-based providers
- Focus exclusively on child care facilities development (not the broader range of needs served by others)
- Collaborate with entities on the front lines serving child care providers
- Orient toward system and market changes for the long term
- Prioritize opportunities in three county metro region
Contact: Rachel Langford, CCFI Lead, firstname.lastname@example.org