Who Cares for Kids? Lane County’s “Child Care Desert”

Date: July 23, 2021

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Event Type: Online/Virtual
Members and Non-Members may attend our forums for free

Venue: Taping will take place on July 20, 2021 at 1:00 pm

Eugene, Oregon

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Recently, OSU published a new report titled, “Oregon Child Care Deserts 2020.”

And as anyone looking for affordable care in Lane County knows: the news is not good.

Lane County does not have enough child care spaces available for its infants and toddlers—qualifying our community as a “child care desert,” meaning that for every 3 children under the age of 2, there is only 1 child care space available.

The lack of available, affordable, quality care impacts every family and the local community at large, but hits moderate- and lower-income families particularly hard. Policy makers have openly observed that, for many families, “it’s housing or child care.” The annual cost of care on Oregon is more than in-state college tuition—Oregon has the 4th highest child care costs in the nation—but sector leaders also acknowledge that most child-care centers operate on razor-thin margins. The labor-intensive industry is largely subsidized by the low compensation of its care providers, most of whom are women and particularly women of color. Intensive work and low compensation are not a recipe for new workforce recruitment, which makes child care even more scarce and competitive.

What can be done at the local, state and even national level? Our speakers today will illuminate Lane County’s unique local challenges and opportunities, as well as possible solutions from a variety of perspectives.



Name: Cindy Bellamy
Title: Director
Organization: Oak Street Child Development Center

Cindy Bellamy is the director of Oak Street Child Development Center.

Cindy Bellamy has been in the field of child care for over 35 years. After graduating from LCC’s Early Childhood Education program in 1985 and working as a teacher for their Lab School for 5 years, Cindy began working at Oak Street Child Development Center in downtown Eugene, where she took over as director in 1998. This year, Oak Street is celebrating its 30th year of providing quality care and education to children 6 weeks thru 5 years of age.

Name: Alyssa Chatterjee
Title: Acting Director
Organization: Oregon Dept of Education Early Learning Division

Alyssa Chatterjee, Acting Director of the Oregon Department of Education Early Learning Division.

Alyssa Chatterjee was appointed Acting Director in 2021 and has worked on Oregon’s early learning policies over the last nine years. Prior to her appointment as Acting Director, Alyssa served as Governor Brown’s deputy education policy advisor. She is excited to support the continued evolution of early learning in Oregon as the Early Learning Division becomes the Department of Early Learning and Care.

Name: Cheryl Henderson
Title: Manager
Organization: Lane Child and Family Center, Lane Community College

Cheryl Henderson is Manager of the Lane Child and Family Center located at Lane Community College.

As the manager, she oversees the Lane Child and Family Center and Quality Care Connections. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Intervention from the University of Oregon and has worked in the field of Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education for over 20 years. Cheryl coordinates with the ECE faculty at Lane and is passionate about quality services for young children and families.

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