Family child care providers announce new state contract

Today Oregon Child Care Providers Together, Local 132 of Oregon AFSCME, announced a new contract with the state of Oregon that went into effect January 1, 2022. Under the contract, more than 2,100 family child care providers will receive new access to health services, free continuing education and trainings, and increased payments to care for children of low-income parents. The contract also calls for the state to establish a path to provide health care coverage and retirement benefits for family child care providers.

Providers say the contract helps to recognize that until child care work pays a living wage with benefits — to a workforce that is mostly women and disproportionately women of color —  Oregon will continue to be in a child care crisis. Since February 2020, there has been at least an 18% decrease in critical local family child care and those numbers are expected to grow. Even before the pandemic, every single county in the state was deemed a child care desert. Over the past two years, accessing child care has only become more difficult.  

“Oregon cannot fully reopen without enough local, high-quality child care and this contract will help providers stay open and improve pay and benefits,” says Anita Bates, who owns Family Cares Day Care with her husband James Hunter. “The new contract is a good step forward for our members but it isn’t enough. Everyone in Oregon who needs child care should have access to it and everyone who works in child care should earn a living wage. As a state, we have a long way to go to get there.”

Small business owners like Anita and James offer high-quality, flexible, individualized care in a homelike setting and have the benefit of union representation. Home-based child care businesses are critical to meeting the need for accessible, culturally-specific, and 24/7 care across our state — especially in rural and underserved communities. These providers are the backbone of child care in Oregon, serving about one in four children in care. We cannot solve the child care crisis without them.

To learn more or to find a union child care provider in your community, go to