Illinois expands help for child-care providers

Local News

Gov. JB Pritzker has announced the administration will direct additional funding to support child-care providers that are part of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to help low-income working families access high-quality childcare, impacting 100,000 children annually.

The administration will utilize funding allocated to Illinois through the federal CARES Act to cover all eligible days of CCAP payments for December, January, and February regardless of attendance, a news release says.

“Our lives are full of so many unknowns right now – and our childcare services know that all too well. From staff calling in sick or staying home to take care of their own families, to concerns about community transmission, to families pulling their kids out of care – these tumultuous times have rained down in multiple ways upon our early childhood network of providers. I wanted to make it easier for them, so we can make sure childcare is available to parents who need it,” Pritzker said.

“As we face down this pandemic winter, Illinois is going to step in and help all providers in our Child Care Assistance Program secure a little more stability and flexibility just as we did in the spring,” he said. “The state will cover all eligible days of CCAP payments for December, January, and February, no matter what your attendance looks like – and all that’s required is for providers to submit a simple waiver form.”

Earlier this year, the Pritzker administration provided $270 million in relief funding to child care providers across the state as part of the Illinois Business Interruption Grant Program, the largest business-relief program in the nation. The state will dedicate an additional $20 million in funding from the CARES Act to provide aid to additional providers in Illinois.

The recently announced initiative will offer relief to thousands of providers, especially in communities of color that have been hardest hit during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As of last month, 98,000 children were enrolled in CCAP. 

Support for eligible child care providers include:

• The state will pay for all eligible days of childcare regardless of the child’s attendance. These changes are effective for December, January, and February to help providers maintain financial stability.

• The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the agency responsible for the licensing of child care programs, will return all licensed family child care providers to full capacity in December and licensed child care centers will return to full capacity in early January, if the COVID-19 rolling positivity rate remains below 9%.

• The purchase and distribution of PPE to childcare providers across the state.

IDHS’ Office of Child Care administers the Child Care Program to provide low-income, working families with access to quality, affordable child care that allows them to continue working and contributes to the healthy, emotional and social development of the child. Families can stay connected with the program on the Child Care Assistance Program Facebook or at the IDHS website.

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