When we work together, we win big. These are the laws we’ll be working to pass to support moms, parents, and caregivers in Oregon!
From parenting, to child care, to caring for our communities’ elders, care work is the work that allows all work to happen. All of the issues we face are deeply connected, whether we’re talking about housing and homelessness, poverty, or child care. We need to invest in our children and prioritize families to build a strong, resilient economy.
These are Family Forward Action’s 2024 legislative priorities to advance racial, gender, and economic justice for moms and caregivers.
Child Care That Works
Our economy depends on a child care system that works—but as many parents and providers can tell you, Oregon’s child care system is profoundly broken. In 2024, we must invest in child care at the level that is needed to keep parents working and ensure kids get the early education they deserve.
And, we need to adjust existing programs to make sure the solutions we’ve already implemented can do the most good.
Make Sure Families Can Count On Employment-Related Day Care (ERDC)
Employment-Related Day Care is a lifeline for families—it keeps parents working and ensures kids get the early education they deserve. The 2023-25 legislative budget underfunded ERDC, forcing the state to implement an indefinite waiting list and cut off access to thousands of qualifying working families. With a historic revenue surplus, legislative leadership has the ability to address the ERDC shortfall. At a minimum this session we expect legislators to set aside sufficient funding so that all families who are approved for the program can count on support. Our overall goal is to fully fund ERDC and end the waitlist.
Oregon has an incredible opportunity to win hundreds of millions in federal investment, grow our economy in an equitable way, and make progress toward the child care system we need. Adjusting existing state programs will allow Oregon businesses to unlock federal funds through the CHIPS Act, the new federal law to boost computer chip production in the US. Specifically, HB 4098 expands the Apprenticeship Related Child Care program and existing supports and programs for growing child care supply in the geographic areas and types of care most needed for our construction workforce, to meet the considerations put forth in the CHIPS Act.
Oregon’s small centers and in-home providers are most likely to operate in rural areas, provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care, care for children with disabilities, and offer care on nights and weekends. These are exactly the kinds of care that are in short supply and most need additional capacity. HB 4158 makes sure more providers can grow their capacity and access the Child Care Infrastructure Fund established by the legislature in 2023. Ensuring dedicated and flexible funds are available to support home-based, rural, and small providers in starting or expanding their businesses is critical to growing the mixed-delivery child care system that parents and employers need.
Strengthening the Care Economy
Pass the People’s Budget
As a co-founder and member of the Fair Shot Coalition, we call on legislators to continue to tackle our toughest challenges through strategic investments of our growing budget surplus. There is more work to do to ensure every Oregonian has access to child care, housing, health care, food, and justice, and to strengthen our workforce. We support full funding of the 2023 People’s Budget, including investments in housing and rental assistance, healthy homes, Oregon Worker Relief, school-based health centers, the student emergency package, and restorative justice.
Fair Implementation of Paid Leave
After decades of organizing for paid family and medical leave, we are proud that tens of thousands of Oregonians have now taken paid leave to welcome a new child, care for themselves or a family member, or seek safety. We continue to play a role in paid leave implementation with the goal of making sure that Paid Leave Oregon has the resources it needs to efficiently and equitably administer the program. Continuity is key for Oregonians and their families. We must make sure that current access to paid and unpaid protected leave is maintained.
Safeguard Protections for Moms and Workers
Our work doesn’t stop when we win. Family Forward Oregon worked hard in 2017 with partners and legislators to pass a strong equal pay law in Oregon. The Pay Equity Act of 2017 (HB 2005) provided several very important provisions to end pay inequity in Oregon. We oppose legislation that threatens the integrity of pay equity for women and moms in Oregon.