jones childcare introduces legislation 1.23.14Yesterday, State Senator Emil Jones III (D – Chicago) introduced a measure to provide a $300 million supplemental appropriation to close the gaping budget hole in Illinois' child care program.

The Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program provides low-income, working families with access to child care, which allows parents to continue working and contributes to the development of a child.

"The suspension of this program has dealt a great deal of hardship to working families in our communities," Senator Jones said. "Families are being denied child care, and parents are afraid of losing their jobs because they have no other options."

A family's eligibility to participate in the program is based on its monthly income. Families pay a copay based on family size and ability to pay.

The program also serves families whose parents are continuing their education with the goal of obtaining better paying jobs and teen parents seeking a high school diploma or equivalency degree.

The suspension of the program is also taking its toll on the local economy as home day care providers are forced to turn children away. In October of last year, an estimated 195,000 children participated in the program. Federal funds help support the program. It's the state's share of the program funding that is running short in the current fiscal year.

"The need for this program is obvious. Parents can still support their families and local businesses continue to thrive," Jones said. "It's unfortunate that young families and young children are caught in this financial crossfire."

If passed by the General Assembly and signed into law, this legislation will provide DHS with the dollars it needs to avoid service disruption and ensure payments to childcare continue to go out of the door.