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Jackson Care Connect supports child care subsidies for health care workers

Jun 28, 2024, 17:14 PM
Rogue Valley YMCA to provide 200 slots for local workforce

Medford, Ore.— Jackson Care Connect announced a $600,000 grant to the Rogue Valley Family YMCA to support 200 child care slots for health care workers. This support addresses the critical need to recruit and retain health care providers and staff in southern Oregon. The grant was part of Jackson Care Connect and CareOregon’s recent strategic reinvestments to address key needs in the community.

The Rogue Valley Family YMCA is partnering with The Children’s Museum of Southern Oregon (formerly KidTime) on this effort, which will allocate a total of 80 preschool slots and 120 school-age slots for health care workers’ families. Both organizations have a proven history in providing quality child care for the community, including responding to community needs at the beginning of the COVID pandemic by providing emergency child care for health care workers, first responders and essential workers.

“With the ever-changing landscape of preschool/childcare, added pressures of funding cuts and increased family budgetary challenges, this benefit will be tremendous for those we can serve,” said Brad Russell, CEO and Executive Director of the Rogue Valley Family YMCA. “When our health care system fractures because the workforce lacks the child care it needs, from CNAs to emergency physicians, we all suffer. When we invest in this resource, our entire community benefits.”

Many of these child care slots will be filled at the YMCA’s new child care center on Roberts Road in Medford. The Housing Authority of Jackson County, former owners of the building, donated it to the YMCA, which refurbished and modernized it in preparation. Russell says a playground will be added soon, and the Medford Chamber Leadership class is raising funds to repave the parking lot and install new landscaping.

Russell says they expect to fill most slots before the start of the 2024-25 school year.

The gap in child care was identified by Jefferson Regional Health Alliance (JRHA) as a barrier in recruiting and retaining the health care workforce in southern Oregon. Russell says JRHA invited the YMCA and the Children’s Museum to talk with local health system leaders about child care, and they are now working with health systems including Providence, Rogue Community Health and others to explore their staff’s needs regarding child care resources.

“Having access to quality child care is an important aspect of a family’s ability to thrive,” says Samantha Watson, Director, Community Health Partnerships at Jackson Care Connect. “This support will help our network’s ability to retain and recruit health care workers, which in turn supports our members’ ability to access quality health care here in Jackson County.”

The $200,000 grant is a long-term investment to cover child care subsidies based on financial need. Workers can qualify for the subsidies on a sliding scale, based on their income.

This support is part of CareOregon’s recent $30 million in strategic reinvestments, including $5.4 million in Jackson County grants to organizations for workforce support, housing and capacity building for behavioral health and substance use treatment.

Jackson Care Connect is a nonprofit, community-governed coordinated care organization (CCO) serving more than 67,000 Oregon Health Plan members in Jackson County.

*Every year, CareOregon reinvests millions back into our communities. In 2023, on the eve of our 30th anniversary year, the CareOregon Board of Directors pledged an extra $30 million in Strategic Initiatives Funds. This grant is part of that commitment.

For information about Jackson Care Connect, call 541-500-0567 or toll-free at 855-722-8208 or email info@jacksoncareconnect.org.

About Jackson Care Connect

Since 2012, when Oregon established coordinated care organizations (CCOs), Jackson Care Connect has been dedicated to serving the whole-person health needs of Jackson County’s Oregon Health Plan members. As a nonprofit CCO, we provide physical, dental and mental health services through the largest CCO network of medical providers in Southern Oregon. Our priorities are guided by our local board of directors, community advisory council, and deep community ties. We proudly partner with organizations that promote a healthy region and work in partnership with our community to address social determinants of health and barriers to health equity. Jackson Care Connect is part of the CareOregon family of companies and is operated by local staff in downtown Medford.

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