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Study: Illinois going opposite direction on child care

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Due to devastating changes made by Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration, Illinois has the lowest income-eligibility in the entire nation for child care assistance. In fact, the other 49 states all have eligibility guidelines set at 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) or greater – Illinois’ eligibility is set at 50 just percent of FPL.

This is just one of the findings in the National Women’s Law Center’s (NWLC) new “Building Blocks: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2015” report (see attached). This report, when looked at in concert with Illinois Action for Children’s recently-released Policy Brief “Survey Confirms Devastating Impact of Child Care Changes on Children and Working Families”, paints a bleak picture of the access to child care that families have in Illinois.

As the NWLC report states, “A family with an income above 100 percent of the federal poverty level ($20,090 a year for a family of three in 2015) could qualify for child care assistance in all states in [February] 2015.”

That changed in July 2015, however, when Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration unilaterally made sweeping changes to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) that now see new applicants making more than just $10,045 a year (for a family of three) being denied for child care. Put more plainly, 90 percent of new applicants who were eligible prior to the rule changes are now being denied.

What does this mean? According to the survey results in Illinois Action for Children’s Policy Brief:

    · The number of child care assistance applications submitted in August 2015 is down almost 50 percent from August 2014. This suggests that many parents, knowing they will be denied, are deciding to not even apply.
    · The CCAP caseload decreased by 9 percent, from 154,050 to 140,812, after just one month of data collected under the new rules.
    · Since July 1st, 100 providers in Cook County alone have reported closing their doors.

…Meanwhile, the data in the National Women’s Law Center’s 2015 report clearly show the rest of the nation going in the opposite direction of Illinois: increasing income-eligibility, decreasing parent co-payments, extending job search grace periods, and increasing reimbursement rates to child care providers.

As the NWLC report states:

    Families’ access to child care assistance and/or the extent of assistance they could receive increased under one or more key child care assistance policies in nearly two-thirds of the states—twice the number of states in which families’ access to assistance and/or the extent of assistance decreased—between February 2014 and February 2015. This year’s trend built on progress made in each of the previous two years, when families experienced improvements in more states than they experienced cutbacks, and contrasted with the two years before that, when families experienced cutbacks in more states than they experienced improvements.

At a time when early care and education is more recognized than ever as an essential work support for parents and a vital first rung on the education ladder for all children, Illinois has foolishly chosen to go against that trend and dramatically reduce its investment in children and families.

Illinois Action for Children, Voices for Illinois Children, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Latino Policy Forum, the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children (IL AEYC) and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois join the National Women’s Law Center in its call to significantly increase investments in child care at the federal and state level. Furthermore, we call on Governor Rauner and Illinois General Assembly to repeal, revoke, or otherwise recall the changes to the Child Care Assistance Program that have made Illinois the shame of the United States when it comes to child care access.

The full study is here.


  1. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    I’m not going to read all of this. I’ll wait for the Illinois Policy Institute story. I know they will have something about this. Maybe the Governor can come out with a proclamation supporting kids.

  2. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    Again, how does Diana Rauner sleep? Her commercial was a key factor in her husband’s election. It’s no longer a tragicomic farce. It’s a tragedy for (at least) tens of thousands of our fellow Illinoisans. And the damage — as she knows — could last the rest of their lives.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    More and more convinced he is so far over his head he is lost, wandering, looking for a photo-op that requires nothing beyond his what’s on his notecards, which are always within reach.

  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:50 am:

    Sorry for the horrible grammar

  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    All part of the “compassionate” Illinois Rauner is aimin’ for.

  6. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    How can Diana still have a job at Ounce? Either outrage from the leadership there - or her own personal shame - should make her continued affiliation with them untenable.

  7. - DuCook - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    It’s a sad commentary on how big government has gotten, and how voters acquiesce to that growth, when I’m going to get blasted in these comments for saying that government shouldn’t even be in the business of paying for child care.

  8. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    “They want the pressure of no scholarships for kids, they want the pressure of no childcare as a way to push the process, that’s the only explanation I can give,” Gov. Rauner said.

    Drivin’ results. If we can bust the unions, it’ll be worth it. I know a wedge when i see one, and this is great. We are winning handily. I cant believe how good of a position we are in. The dems are causing all the pain, not me.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    ===when I’m going to get blasted in these comments for saying that government shouldn’t even be in the business of paying for child care===

    Perhaps you should listen to those who will soon be attempting to disabuse you of this notion.

    Something tells me you won’t…

  10. - Same as it ever was - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    Before speaking of this new “compassion”, some should recall our old “compassion” in terms of funding for disabled individuals and others. We have been last or near last for years in services for the disabled.

    Illinois has hardly been a “compassionate” state for many for years, except for the connected.

  11. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    This HAS been an immediate and devastating effect. Here’s what we’re going to see. A rise in neglect cases or if not cases because we don’t have the DCFS personnel to investigate, a rise in neglect. People have to work to survive. We’ve got kids too young being left at home. This was happening before, it will happen more now. The sad thing is that nobody cares. Poverty has been criminalized and marginalized. Most Illinoisans have no idea how a huge percentage of folks live, nor do they care. It’s not their problem. Sorry, I guess I have goo-goo beliefs and expectations. (thanks for the history on the ancient gnostic Illinois belief system)

  12. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    Ounce’s Manifesto:

    Has Diana asked Bruce to read this?

  13. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:08 am:

    @DuCook…. No snark intended.
    Do you feel the same way about K-12?
    Do you see any benefit to society in preparing a low income child for their k-12 education?

    (My reason for asking is that I watch for trends. This trend of taxpayers being against ECE and post-high school education, as both not needed for a healthy society, is bothersome.)

  14. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:10 am:

    I should have said troublesome.

    I am also curious if you live on a third-world style compound with barbed-wire, dogs, gate, etc.?

  15. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:11 am:

    ==Again, how does Diana Rauner sleep?==
    From her bio: “Ms. Diana Mendley Rauner, Ph.D. served as Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago from 1992 to 2004. At Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, Ms. Rauner worked with public agencies and private foundations on the evaluations of programs that support early childhood development.”

    She absolutely understands the impact of this childcare cut better than most. I don’t know - maybe she blamed Madigan?

  16. - DuCook - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:13 am:

    I think that in 99% of cases, the working parent would identify an affordable option for child care, such as a local church, an extended family member, a private group that collaborates on child care, or rotating responsibilities among a group of working parents. Government child care subsidies create disincentives to identify these creative solutions, at the taxpayers’ expense.

  17. - Anderson Villy - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    =I think that in 99% of cases, the working parent would identify an affordable option for child care, such as a local church, an extended family member, a private group that collaborates on child care, or rotating responsibilities among a group of working parents.=

    You need to get out of your bubble man. That’s really all I got for you if this is your solution.

  18. - Pawn - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    DuCook, please show your work for the 99% claim. And show how it is affordable for a single parent who works for minimum wage, with shifting hours/schedules each week, as is typical for low wage work.

    Otherwise, your opinion is worthless.

  19. - Greyhound - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    @DuCook This is the exact sort of government spending to which I’m happy to contribute. Consistent reliable childcare is essential to working parents. I know how expensive childcare is and wish some of your suggestions would have panned out for my family. The goal is to get people employed. In my opinion this sort of assistance can be crucial.

  20. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    “Government child care subsidies create disincentives to identify these creative solutions, at the taxpayers’ expense.”

    I feel the same about K-12. My property taxes are way too high. /s

  21. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:38 am:

    “I think that in 99% of cases, the working parent would identify an affordable option for child care, such as a local church,”

    I’ve never been a member of a church that provides free child care. Should Illinois families change their religions to get access to child care?

    “an extended family member,”

    My extended family members either 1) don’t live within 500 miles, 2) have full time+ jobs, or 3) both.

    “a private group that collaborates on child care,”

    Please identify this unicorn by name.

    “or rotating responsibilities among a group of working parents.”

    Are they supposed to tell their employers, “I’m not going to be at work every few days because I’m responsible for a rotation among a group of working parents”? Does that work on your planet?

    I’ve treated your ridiculous comment with far more seriousness than it deserved, I won’t do so again.

    Good day.

    – MrJM

  22. - #5 - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    “Affordable option . . . such as a local church”
    A quick check of church rates here in Springfield does seem to be that affordable for low income parents.
    Calvary Day Care Rate: 140/wk
    (more for the under 3 set),
    Central Baptist Church’s Children’s House Rate: $165/week (more for under 3 yo)

  23. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    I love that we are able to disassociate ourselves from these children. They are human beings, and the care they receive at ages 0-5 is EVERYTHING. As a working parent, we are fortunate to have good daycare. My heart goes out to all working parents who have to rely on daycare. My heart goes out to those workers too, that is not an easy job. If you think it is, try it for a week.

    Why should people who need help with daycare expenses be disparaged? They want to work, they don’t get paid enough, so it is their fault? And their kids should pay the cost?

  24. - #5 - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:42 am:

    AHH! Should have said “does NOT seem” affordable. Sorry!!

  25. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    DuCook, I’m not certain if you are a parent or not. But as a parent, I don’t need creative solutions for my kids. I need someone or some people to care for my kids with the care that I would provide. Kids need consistency in their life, not “creative solutions, or network of parents”.

  26. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    When Dr. Rauner assured us all on the tee-vee that “Bruce has no social agenda,” she wasn’t whistling Dixie.

    Well, maybe she was, now that we’ve fallen behind Mississippi and Louisiana.

  27. - Former Hoosier - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:57 am:

    DuCooK, I’m not sure what bubble you live in but it’s not the real wold that’s for sure. I’ve spent all of my professional life working (first as a nurse practitioner, then as a psychologist) with underserved rural and urban populations. As both a health professional and a mother, I can assure that finding high quality childcare is a challenge. Your ideas, while seemingly common sense, are, in most cases unworkable. Long ago, it was decided that this state would provide basic services for those in need- childcare being one of them. Now, Illinois ranks dead last in the country for low income parents to access subsidized childcare. Indiana, that bastion of conservatism, has more compassion for parents in need than Illinois! A family of 3 in Illinois can earn no more than $838/month in order to qualify for subsidized childcare. A similar family in Indiana can earn up to $2,094/month.

  28. - anon - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    Heck with starvin’, abused, neglected kids — and their moms too. More tax breaks for gazillionaires will fix the Land of Lincoln.

    Who’da thunk? Brucey is the best Democratic campaign tool ever.

  29. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 12:05 pm:

    DuCook, seriously? Lets end mandatory school attendance at 8th grade, skip vaccinations, end free school buses, while we are at it.

  30. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 12:35 pm:

    How does Diana Rauner sleep? I’m guessing just fine. One of those eight houses surely has a sleep number bed.

  31. - childcare administrator - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    @DuCook…Please let me help you out in your lack of knowledge on childcare facilities. Currently it costs approximately $150 weekly for an infant in a childcare facility. Now let’s multiply that by 4 weeks which is….$800 every month. Some of our parents are making approximately $10 (or less) an hour, that’s $400 a week…$1600 a month. This $1600 has not yet been hit by taxes, rent, food, utility bills, etc…so our parents have to pay $800 right off the top every month for ONE child. This leaves $800 left in the month for the above mentioned items…Can you live off of $800 a month?? Maybe you could use those creative (Magical) solutions you were discussing…

  32. - Norseman - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    I can here the frat boys shouting in unison, “winning.”

  33. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 12:53 pm:

    A point that keeps being overlooked or downplayed in most of these news stories is the 50% of FPL limit is intended, and is written into the permanent rules, as an EMERGENCY measure to be used ONLY when the CCAP does not have sufficient resources to serve all applicants who would normally qualify. The “normal” eligibility benchmark when CCAP is properly funded remains at 185% of FPL.

    Again, I’m not trying to minimize the impact of these rules — I am in a position where I know they have been devastating to many families and child care providers — but let’s remember that this is NOT being proposed as a permanent measure.

  34. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:27 pm:


    Since you are completely unaware, many of the child care providers that folks send their kids to for subsidized care ARE churches and private charitable groups.

    They still have to train and pay their staff and provide a safe and nurturing environment.

    Please, before you suggest that everyone else should watch their relatives’ kids for free all day, tell us how often you babysit for your family members.

  35. - Emily Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    Secret Square-

    Actually it is. So. There’s that.

  36. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    “Actually it is (a permanent measure)”

    Emily, perhaps I didn’t clarify sufficiently… the permanent rule under consideration lists the 50% FPL cap as a measure to be imposed “in the event the Department must limit participation due to insufficient appropriations or available resources.” The “normal” income eligibility threshold is still 185% FPL.

    The way the stories above are worded, one gets the impression that the 185% cap is being permanently replaced with a 50% cap, which is not the case.

    Of course, until we get our budgetary act together that question is moot.

  37. - cdog - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    Secret Square,
    The funny thing is that the 50%FPL caseload expense will be, most likely soon, less than the federal block grant in which Mr Rauner currently has the benefit of still participating. You know, money in/money out.

    “oh, you mean we can’t keep that money to pay other bills?”

    Could there be a Superstar “gotcha moment” on the horizon.

    Could the hostage-takers be Keystone Cops and shoot themselves in the foot, soon? Hopefully, the Feds are watching this.

  38. - Linus - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    What Emily Miller wrote bears repeating: Yes, Secret Square, the administration is in fact working to make this “emergency” rule a permanent change in childcare policy. It’s been in the news.

  39. - Linus - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:57 pm:

    Sorry, Secret; didn’t spot your followup post. Nonetheless, a big question remains: Who defines “insufficient appropriations,” and how? My guess as to the first answer is — the administration.

  40. - mrsscoop - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 2:23 pm:

    @secret square - He has already begun the process to make it a permanent rule rather than emergency.

  41. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 3:25 pm:

    You know I have to think that my spouse and I dodged a bullet. At the time that our kids were young we could afford childcare with both of us working. Now that my girls are teens I know that what folks pay now could have sunk us fast. Part of the tragedy is that folks who were just making it work, will get sucked into the vortex of financial ruin. It’s a catch 22. You can’t work without childcare and you can’t afford childcare even though you work. DuCook, I’m sure you are probably a helpful person. You came up with some reasonable solutions. Here’s the deal, instead of offering helpful solutions based upon our own realities, I think we need to be in dialogue with those effected and see how we can help them. Telling people helpful options is not going to be helpful. It’s actually hurtful. I imagine that you didn’t wish to be hurtful. It’s like my sister in law, she doesn’t mean to hurtful but her lack of self-differentiation makes every interaction with her excrutiatingly painful.

  42. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 3:52 pm:

    mrsscoop — Yes, I know the process is in place to make this rule permanent.

    What I am trying to clarify is that in the permanent rule, the 50% FPL income restriction is codified for FUTURE use as an emergency measure to be used only when there is insufficient funding to maintain the “normal” or default 185% FPL limit. It is not wiping out or replacing the 185% threshold, though it does leave open the question of who determines when the emergency provisions will be triggered.

  43. - Norseman - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 4:11 pm:

    === It is not wiping out or replacing the 185% threshold, though it does leave open the question of who determines when the emergency provisions will be triggered. ===

    That answers my question. When not clear, Rauner will keep it low.

  44. - Buddy - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 4:15 pm:

    Childcare is one of the most significant barriers for lower income earners entering the workplace.

  45. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 4:41 pm:

    John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep” would make a good Friday afternoon song, I’m sorry to say.

  46. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 5:01 pm:

    If you’re a single working parent of 1 with a minwage job and you hit the lottery: a good deal on child care plus set, full-time shifts that run 9-5

    Your takehome pay at $8.25/hr will $102.90/week for 40 hours’ labor after FICA, IL flat tax, and fed withholding.

    Not sure how you think you would shelter, feed, clothe, and transport 2 living souls in “DuCook” on that amount, but it’s mathematically impossible most places.

    This one policy change alone should be enough to provoke mass resignations in protest of this administration.

  47. - AlabamaShake - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 8:35 pm:

    **a local church, an extended family member, a private group that collaborates on child care, or rotating responsibilities among a group of working parents. **

    There are local churches that provide free childcare? There are private groups that “collaborate on child care” that provide free child care?

    Also, not all parents have access to family members that stay at home and don’t work. And not all parents have access to other parents that stay at home and don’t work. In fact, I would guess that the vast majority of those in the CCAP don’t have such access.

  48. - burbanite - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 9:45 pm:

    It is too late DuCook, parents have had to leave their jobs, day care centers have closed, workers laid off. The effects of what has already occurred sure doesn’t feel temporary to those folks. It is changing lives and hurting struggling families now.

  49. - Jillbugg - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:07 pm:

    Thanks to Rich for keeping this issue in the forefront. Every day that passes means further deterioration of what was the most awesome high quality early shims hood system in the nation. Sad times for our youngest children now. Thanks Bruce.

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