March 18, 2020
Media Contact: Melanie Mesaros, 503-856-6040
Early Learning Division Announces Temporary Changes to Child Care Rules in Response to COVID-19
(Salem, Ore) – The Early Learning Division (ELD) is announcing new guidance and temporary changes to support child care providers serving families who provide health, safety, and other essential services to their communities during the coronavirus public health emergency. Authorized under Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-08 issued on March 17, 2020, the changes take effect immediately.
“These changes will allow providers more flexibility to continue serving parents doing critical work during this state of emergency,” said Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. ”I want to stress that child care providers are serving as first responders, and families for whom child care is not absolutely necessary should keep their children at home to ensure these caregivers can serve those most in need.”
Changes to rules covered in the order include:
Providers must follow the specific guidance released by the Early Learning Division, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, to help providers implement measures that prioritize the safety and health of children and staff.
Licensed Care Exceptions
The Office of Child Care (OCC) will consider case-by-case exceptions, as is already provided for in law, on an expedited timeframe. OCC may allow existing child care centers to open additional, temporary rooms without seeking approval from local jurisdictions or other state agencies.
OCC will adapt training requirements to allow staff to begin working more quickly, without sacrificing safety. Online training will be available to address health and safety, First Aid/CPR, child abuse reporting, and safe sleep practices.
Emergency Background Check
OCC is establishing an emergency background check process during this time. Applicants will be subjected to LEDS (Law Enforcement Data System) check for Oregon criminal and sex offender registry, Child and Protective Services check for child abuse, National Sex Offender Registry Public Website check, and run against the Central Background Registry.
Emergency Child Care Facilities
OCC is creating an expedited process for providers to stand up new, emergency child care facilities to serve medical personnel, emergency responders, and others who are providing essential services where the need for child care exists.
OCC accepts reports from parents or others who may report concerns. To report a complaint online, go to www.oregonearlylearning.com/parents-families/making-a-complaint. OCC may still inspect and investigate at any time. If OCC determines there is danger to children, the agency may close the facility.
Frequently Asked Questions to address family and provider questions and concerns are available and updated regularly on the Early Learning Division’s COVID-19 webpage. For questions regarding COVID-19 and these changes, providers can call 1-800-342-6712 or their local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R). Providers can also submit questions by emailing ProviderContact@state.or.us.