On Wednesday morning, State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) introduced a bill that would roll back Gov. Bruce Rauner’s draconian new eligibility requirements to the Child Care Assistance Program that have denied 90% of applicants since July 1st.
Shannon Norris, a Springfield child care provider of ten years, testified in front of the Senate Human Services Committee during a hearing on the bill, where it advanced to the full Senate on a 6-3 vote.
Here’s some of what Shannon had to say to lawmakers:
As we all know, Governor Rauner implemented changes in eligibility that severely restrict access to this program, and there have already been repercussions. Since July 1, 90% of new applicants to the Child Care Assistance Program have been denied. These are families who in the past, up until June 30, would have qualified.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of working parents have ALREADY been denied the child care that would allow them to enter or stay in the workforce knowing their children are being cared for in safe environments.
What are all those people going to do? Leave their children home alone or with someone who may not be qualified? Quit their jobs? We need people working and contributing to our economy right now and child care assistance is a necessary part of the equation for those earning low wages.
This deliberate effort to destroy a successful program without debate or public input is a terrible way to govern. It’s even worse for the security of tens of thousands of children and the economic security of tens of thousands of Illinois working families.
This is a program that has long enjoyed bipartisan support – but now the Rauner Administration is doing everything they can to cutoff access.
The part that upsets me the most is these changes – which make no mistake are an attempt to destroy this program – were made outside of the budget crisis. Why are low-income parents and children being targeted by our Governor?
I encourage legislators to stand up to the governor’s back-door destruction of the Child Care Assistance Program, and roll back his rule changes that have thrown thousands of families into uncertainty. Don’t pull the rug out from low-income parents who are doing everything they can to give their children a better future. Our state is better than that.