Oregon families racked with choosing between ‘rent or childcare’

Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Marchel Hirschfield is a single mother of two boys — ages five and nine. She was working full time while pursuing a bachelor’s degree until the pandemic changed her course.

She told KOIN 6 News that she had to quit school to focus on helping her sons with remote learning while continuing to work full-time. The stress has taken a toll on her, but Hirschfield said she can’t afford daycare.

“Oh my gosh, I remember applying for the YMCA program, and um, it came out to $1,000 per child and there’s like a 5% discount for your second child and you know I really just had to choose not to send them to daycare because that or choosing rent is not an option,” she said.

COVID-19 has driven millions of women out of the workforce due in part because they can’t find affordable childcare, according to a McKinsey analysis.

Portland State University released a survey in April reporting that 60% of Oregon families experienced a disruption in childcare because of the pandemic.

Hirschfield knows she isn’t alone, which is why she is advocating for legislation to expand childcare options.

HB 3073 in Oregon would establish an agency separate from the Department of Education that would streamline governance of the Employment Related Daycare Program, which helps eligible low-income families pay for child care while they are working

Sen. Ron Wyden meanwhile is joining colleague in the Senate to support the Child Care is Infrastructure Act “to rebuild a stronger, more robust child care infrastructure.”

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