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Governor’s cuts to child care program affecting Illinois families, small businesses

Governor’s cuts to child care program affecting Illinois families, small businesses

SPRINGFIELD - Chante Morrison, a single mother from Galesburg, applied for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) over the summer to help her afford the high cost of child care for her two young children.

“I was working at the time and heard about this program,” Chante said. “I applied – however, due to the July changes, I was denied. I was forced to move in with my sister. I had to quit my job. I have not been able to work due to these changes. If you want us to work, we need to be able to make sure our children are somewhere safe. My children aren’t old enough to be left at home.”

Chante joined other parents and a host of child care providers and advocates in Springfield today opposing drastic cuts made to CCAP over the summer by Governor Rauner. The governor made emergency temporary rule changes to the program in late June that have effectively cut out 90 percent of previously eligible families from child care services. The Department of Human Services held a hearing today to receive the public’s input on making these cuts permanent.

Sessy Nyman, Vice-President of Illinois Action for Children, opened the hearing with sobering statistics on what the governor’s cuts have meant for families and providers in Illinois. Among them: 

  • More than 100 child care providers in Cook County alone have closed their doors since July 1;
  • CCAP applications have dropped 50 percent from last year, with many parents not bothering to apply, knowing they will be denied services. 

While the effect of cuts to CCAP has had obvious implications for working families and providers, Illinois businesses are also feeling the pinch.

Kayla Edwards, Director of Client Services at Express Employment Professionals, discussed the impact CCAP cuts are having at Express, a staffing provider connecting jobs seekers and hiring businesses.

“People who want to work and are able to work and have the skills don’t have the availability of quality child care – and they can’t afford it,” Edwards said. “Businesses suffer because they can’t acquire and develop the talent they need to serve their customers and people suffer because they can’t go to work. Many of those businesses are going to where they can find the available workforce. They are leaving our state.”