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State Child Care Funding In Jeopardy as of February 2015

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) budget for the current fiscal year (FY2015) is underfunded by almost $300 million. This means that the state will essentially run out of money to pay child care providers as early as February — well before the June 30th end of this fiscal year. While Illinois will have access to federal funds to partially pay for CCAP, those dollars will not make up for this shortfall that we face now.

How did we get here?  

The $300 million shortfall was created in the following way: * Child Care began the year with a $190 million deficit o $84 million reduced appropriation o Cost of care per child continues to rise because more infants and toddlers are using center-based care in greater numbers. o Home Child Care rate increases and parent co-payment reduction * Backlogs created by a prolonged implementation of the electronic Child Care Management System (CCMS) have forced IDHS to ‘automatically re-determine eligibility’ for families in the CCAP. As a result, CCAP is running on average 5,000 ‘additional’ children per month than was expected. IDHS continues to work to address the remaining problems with the system.

What does this mean for child care moving forward?  

This shortfall could create a significant cash flow issue for the state that will cause payments from IDHS to child care providers to be delayed. For more than 100,000 families in Illinois, solving this child care crisis will be the difference between obtaining/keeping their job or not. For more than 160,000 children, it will mean the difference between being in a safe, early childhood program or being home alone or with an older sibling. For all of us, it is the difference between prioritizing children, working families and building a stronger state economy or not. The new Governor and the Illinois General Assembly will need to address this funding problem in the coming weeks, but we have no information on when that will happen or what their response will be to this crisis. What we do know is that the state needs to identify revenue necessary to pass a supplemental budget to fully fund CCAP through the end of this fiscal year in order for the program to continue at its current level.

What can you do?  

We will need you, the parents who rely on your child care program, your friends, family members, and all other advocates to make our elected officials understand the gravity and far-reaching impact of this crisis. There are several actions you can take to raise awareness of the child care funding crisis:

1. Contact your state elected official.  

* Talk to them about the important role child care plays in your community for parents and for children’s learning. * Ask them to contact the new Governor and work with him to come to an agreement and address this child care funding crisis. * Invite them to visit your program and talk to parents.

2. Share your story and your parents’ stories with us.  

* We are looking for stories detailing the effects of child care cuts. Please submit stories regarding: – Families that lose child care at redetermination – Families that are denied child care for the first time – Letting go of or not paying staff – Child care businesses closing * Visit our website and share your story – Parents Share Your Story and Providers Share Your Story * Email your story to advocacy@actforchildren.org * Illinois Action for Children may contact you about sharing the story with the press.

3. Write a letter to the editor.  

* Illinois Action for Children will provide a template for letters to your local newspapers.

4. Spread the Word!  

* Share this fact sheet and our alerts with your parents, families, networks and associations, staff – anybody who cares about children and working families.

5. Contact Illinois Action for Children with any questions  

* We are here to help! Please call Samir Tanna at 773-564-8851 or email him at Samir.Tanna@actforchildren.org for help with legislative meetings, talking points, materials, etc.

It is critically important for all of us to work together to get this job done! 

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