SPRINGFIELD – Joined by child care advocates and daycare providers, State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) and State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth (D – Peoria) held a press conference today urging all House members to support Senate Bill 570, a proposal to roll back drastic cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) instituted by the governor.
“We are here today because there is a crisis going on in our communities,” Senator Toi Hutchinson said. “There are daycare centers across this state closing on a daily basis, leaving children without care, parents with no choices and daycare employees without jobs. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue – this is a human issue.”
CCAP provides access to affordable child care for more than 179,000 children throughout the state, giving working parents a hand with the exorbitant and ever-increasing cost of child care. The governor used a secretive emergency rulemaking process to establish new eligibility requirements to the program that went into effect on July 1. His changes will leave out an estimated 90 percent of new applicants who would have qualified for help previously. By declaring his changes as an “emergency,” he both circumvented the General Assembly and the public’s opportunity to make their views known.
In addition to the toll on working families the governor’s plan is forcing, it also has the potential to cause massive layoffs in Illinois’ child care system, which employs more than 70,000 workers. On top of the layoffs, many parents will be forced to quit their jobs to stay at home with their children, causing further disruptions in Illinois’ economy and an increase in spending on Illinois’ public assistance programs.
“Every day I hear from parents and day care providers who are concerned what children in our communities will no longer have access to high-quality child care as a result of these changes,” Representative Gordon-Booth said. “Parents will be forced to stop working or drop out of school in order to care for their children and child care facilities will close and lay off their employees. In the legislature we have the ability to stop this from happening. I encourage all of my colleagues to vote for this legislation and do what is in the best interest of working families across this state.”
Senator Hutchinson and Representative Gordon-Booth both urged every member of the House – Democrats and Republicans alike – to support Senate Bill 570, which passed the Illinois Senate on August 5 and is currently awaiting a vote in the Illinois House.
The Illinois House is scheduled for session this Wednesday, September 2.