SALEM — House Speaker Tina Kotek led more than a dozen witnesses urging lawmakers to expand state subsidies for child care for low-income working families.

Kotek said the aim is not just to add families “but to make it work better.”

Kotek, D-Portland, and others testified Monday to the House Human Services and Housing Committee about House Bill 2015.

The bill proposes to:

• Guarantee eligibility for the program, known as Employment Related Day Care, for 12 months regardless of a change in employment status. Families still will have to notify the state when they change child-care providers.

• Raise the eligibility limit from 185 to 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The 100-percent level for a family of three in 2015 is $20,090, according to the Federal Register, so the limit for such a family would be raised from $37,166 to $50,225.

• Allow self-employed parents to become eligible again, as they were before budget cuts eliminated them in 2009. About 200 families would be affected by this change.

• Allow some people to qualify for subsidies when they attend classes and require child care.

• Give incentives for child-care providers to improve quality, and for families to make lower co-payments.

The Department of Human Services endorsed the bill, which was the product of a work group involving Kotek and others. Its chief sponsors are Kotek and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton.

Kotek was co-leader of the Legislature’s human services budget subcommittee in 2009 and 2011.

Lawmakers hope to increase state support for the program by up to $6 million, which also would allow the Department of Human Services to extend subsidies to between 1,000 and 1,500 families. The program serves 8,000 per month, but there is a waiting list of about 1,600 requests.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.