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One legislative action this session that parents, employers and policymakers should all support is renewal of the Employer Provided Dependent Care Tax Credit. This important credit encourages and supports employers who provide child care assistance to their employees. Without legislative action, this critical program for young children and their parents will expire at the end of the year.


Research has clearly demonstrated that high-quality early learning experiences have long-term benefits on young children, including healthy brain development, school readiness, future success in school, and related positive economic, societal and health benefits.

With 70 percent of brain development occurring between birth and age 3, providing a quality early foundation is critical for a child’s future success in school and beyond. All parents want the best start for their children, and being able to access a quality early care and education provider through the employer provided dependent care credit is essential for meeting those parents’ desires for their children.

Further, while children and their parents are the most direct beneficiaries of quality early childhood experiences, employers also benefit. When parents have access to high-quality, reliable care and education for their children, employers experience greater rates of employee productivity and lower rates of employee absenteeism.

Providing quality early learning experiences for children during these critical years of brain development also helps build a future qualified workforce.

Finally, for policymakers, the Employer Provided Dependent Care Tax Credit helps meet a critical public policy need — child care affordability. Oregon ranks among the nation’s five least affordable states for child care. The Employer Provided Dependent Care Tax Credit directly benefits middle-class families — parents who struggle to afford the high cost of care in Oregon, yet make too much to qualify for state child care tuition assistance.

We urge the Legislature to quickly renew the Employer Provided Dependent Care Tax Credit bill. Working together, policymakers and employers can ensure that Oregon’s youngest children and their parents have access to the high-quality early learning experiences they need and deserve.

Elanna Yalow, Ph.D., is CEO of Early Learning Programs at Portland-based Knowledge Universe, whose brands include KinderCare Learning Centers, CCLC and Champions before- and after-school programs. Sandra McDonough is president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, Oregon and Southwest Washington’s leading business organization with 1,800 member companies, representing 325,000 business people.

Contract Publishing

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