Euvalcree, nonprofit community organization, plans a program to provide child care but also to train aspiring child care operators in the business. (The Enterprise/FILE)

ONTARIO – The pinch in providing child care in Malheur County is headed for some relief as Euvalcree has won a $1.2 million state grant to open a new center.

The money comes through a massive funding bill approved recently by the 2022 Legislature that included $100 million for child care programs across Oregon.

“This is a big deal,” said Gustavo Morales, Euvalcree executive director.

The Ontario-based nonprofit will use the money to create a child care center, providing another place for parents to find child care. The center could serve up to 30 children.

“Assuming no challenges arise we hope to be open and running in September,” Morales said.

Morales said the center then will be used to train others in how to run their own child care businesses.

According to Euvalcree’s plan, potential business owners would train in both child care and in business at the new center.

Euvalcree will then work with them to establish their new business, providing up to $25,000 to 10 individuals. They would operate their businesses out of their homes, eventually serving 13 to 16 children per location.

“This is not intended for existing or active child care facilities but for the development of new providers,” Morales said. 

As in much of Oregon, Malheur County is short of child care providers. That can limit parents from getting work or working more than part time, Morales said.

“Lack of access to child care impacts not only the child’s ability to have a safe and secure environment for development but also the family’s ability to contribute to the workforce, pursue continued education and increase the overall well-being of our communities,” Euvalcree said in its plan.

The new child care center is intended to address a number of local challenges, including providing “proper instruction for children under the age of 6,” “lack of culturally specific and linguistically appropriate services,” and “flexible child care for working families.”

Euvalcree has been a key resource during the pandemic to move aid to individuals and businesses. The nonprofit reported that last year, it served 25,000 people across eight northeast Oregon counties and delivered $6 million in resources and services.

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