A new study done by Oregon State University (OSU) showed there are far more children that the child care system can handle.
A child care desert is when less than one third of children don’t have access to regulated child care.
“All of Oregon’s 36 counties are child care deserts,” said Megan Pratt, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Public Health.
Pratt explained there are long waiting lists to get into most child care programs. That causes parents to find other solutions.
“A lot of parents work different hours so that there’s less time that they need to find care for their child,” Pratt said.
They also use relatives and neighbors to help watch children.
Pratt said there’s only slightly more space available in metro areas compared to rural areas. She said it’s a problem across the entire state.
Around 19 percent of child care slots are government funded through the federally-funded Head Start program and the state-funded Preschool Promise program.