* Monday afternoon press release…
Governor Bruce Rauner today announced that the state’s Department of Human Services (IDHS) will broaden access to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The move fulfills an agreement made with the legislature in 2015 to raise the income eligibility criteria to 185% of the federal poverty level from 162%. It means 16,000 more children will receive child care each month, for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018.
Rauner included the funds to boost the levels in his proposed budget and stressed that the CCAP funding decision was made to ensure that parents can continue working without worrying about how their children will be cared for. “I am proud to stand with families who are working two or three jobs just to make a living,” he said. “Many of them are already struggling, and now they’re taking an even deeper cut in their income thanks to the 32% increase in income taxes the legislature passed in July.”
Even with the massive tax hike, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimates the state budget is at least $1.7 billion out of balance. Rauner is asking the legislature to work with him to identify additional spending reforms and bring the budget into balance.
Criteria for CCAP eligibility are determined through the administrative rule making process, which is overseen by the bipartisan, legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. IDHS plans to implement the new criteria through emergency rulemaking, ensuring more families can receive child care as quickly as possible. The Department will also continue working with the child care community to closely monitor the availability of funds and make adjustments, when necessary, to ensure the state is meeting the needs of families while still being fiscally responsible.
* SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Brynn Seibert…
“When Gov. Bruce Rauner first implemented the limits to the Child Care Assistance Program, every expert in the field, including the then-director of the program, predicted disaster. And they were right.
“While restoration of the program to pre-Rauner-cuts levels would be welcome, and was part of the promise he made Illinoisans, it cannot be separated from the reality that his administration continues to implement back-door cuts that could lead to almost 15,000 child care providers being purged in the coming months. What good is a restored program if there are no providers to give care?
“These back-door cuts sought by the Rauner administration via arbitrary interpretation of new federal training guidelines remain a threat to working families and will fall predominantly on poor women of color.
“Illinois may NEVER recover from the damage that Gov. Rauner visited on a successful system of child care built up over the years. But as he faces re-election, we welcome an examination of his record when it comes to the thousands of working parents and children whom he has harmed.”
* Pritzker campaign…
After cutting access to child care for 30,000 children, Bruce Rauner finally decided to restore some of his cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) – but the damage is done.
By reducing the income eligibility for CCAP by 73% in 2015, Rauner is responsible for slashing services for 30,000 children and destabilizing families and communities. But the announcement that Rauner will roll back his own draconian cuts does not change the years of underfunding and instability Rauner unleashed on Illinois families.
“Bruce Rauner’s assault on early learning will have a lasting impact on Illinois children,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Kids cannot get their childhood back and providers can’t just resume services like nothing happened. We need a governor who will fight for Illinois children and that’s exactly what JB will do as governor.”
…Adding… Illinois Action for Children…
The restoration of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) signals a welcome – and long-overdue – commitment by Governor Rauner to live up to the promises he made two years ago. However, a great deal of damage has been done to children, families, and our state’s child care infrastructure over the two-plus years that CCAP income-eligibility was set at a needlessly and harmfully low level.
While the Governor’s action on this matter cannot immediately reverse this damage, we are hopeful that it signals a renewed commitment to early care and education in our state. Furthermore, we call on the Governor and all elected officials to learn from the damage caused by the 2015 CCAP changes and commit to protecting child care eligibility from any politically-fueled cuts moving forward.
…Adding More… Biss campaign…
“While Bruce Rauner was decimating affordable childcare three years ago, Litesa and I were leading the fight to expand eligibility and restore funding,” said Daniel Biss. “An arrogant, out-of-touch billionaire who has never had to worry about affording childcare, Bruce Rauner clearly doesn’t understand how cuts to these programs ripple throughout generations, stifling opportunity and perpetuating hardship.”
“Bruce Rauner shouldn’t get credit for finally restoring eligibility to a program that he demolished. This is too little, too late for thousands of families across Illinois. We need a governor who will fight for us every day—someone with a proven record of success and a stake in the future of our state.”