October 2015

Child Care Providers and Parents Gather Together in Gurnee to Press State Rep. Sheri Jesiel to Commit to Saving Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) By Voting “Yes” on SB 570

Advocates Kick Off 3-Week Campaign to Reverse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Extreme Child Care Cuts As Vital Program Risks Collapse

(October 22nd, 2015) —Child care providers, along with working parents and children, held a press event in Gurnee to call on Illinois’ State Rep. Sheri Jesiel to pledge to support the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

Following the press conference, providers and parents delivered a letter — (see pasted below) — and a large pledge sign to Representative Jesiel’s (R-61st) district office asking her to commit to vote on Tuesday, November 10th for SB 570.

Univision: Providers urge State Rep Jesiel to support SB-570 to save Illinois’ child care program (10pm broadcast)

Univision Gurnee: Child care providers fight to save Illinois’ vital program for working families (5pm broadcast)

 

The legislation, SB 570, will save the state’s child care program from being systematically destroyed because of Gov. Rauner’s extreme eligibility requirements that are denying 90% of all parents seeking assistance. As an example of Rauner’s new eligibility rules which he implemented unilaterally starting on July 1st, a single parent working a full time minimum wage job now currently makes too much money to be eligible for child care assistance.  Within a matter of months, providers and parents are facing the real possibility that CCAP could collapse.

Home-based child care providers, who are small businesses, are at risk of being forced to close their doors unless urgent action is taken.  In that scenario parents will be forced to leave their jobs if they cannot access affordable child care, or have to patch together potentially unreliable child care services from those who likely don’t have early learning training or any experience.

As the Rockford Register Star editorialized this week, advocates from across the state are urgently calling on Gov. Rauner to stop his administration’s agenda to dismantle Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program.

The Register Star’s editorial follows the Springfield Journal Register’s reporting that because of Gov. Rauner’s unilateral changes to Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program at least 15,000 working families have been denied access to affordable child care, forcing many to remain unemployed or quit their current jobs altogether. In order to project Illinois families from Rauner’s cuts, parents and child care providers are asking their legislative representatives to support SB 570.

In addition, Innovation Illinois, a think tank which analyses public policy issues in the state, also just published an op-ed in the Rockford Register Star highlighting Gov. Rauner’s emergency rules to Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and how they are inflicting grave damage to the state’s economy.

Innovation Illinois’ economic impact study found that the state’s caregiver programs directly support 77,000 jobs in the child care industry. And when those employees spend their combined wages it creates another 43,000 jobs here in Illinois. Gov. Rauner’s attempts to destroy CCAP will cost tens of thousands of jobs, and when coupled with parents being forced out of the workforce for lack of child care, the economic damage will be significant.

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 An Open Letter to State Representative Sheri Jesiel:

October 22nd, 2015

 

The Honorable Sheri L Jesiel

State Representative, 61st District

Warren Township Center

17801 W. Washington St.

Gurnee, IL  60031

 

On November 10th, As Parents and Child Care Providers, We Urge You to Vote for SB 570 to Save Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program

As parents and child providers who live, work, and serve constituents in your district we are calling on you to pledge your support for SB 570, a bill to save Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) which is slated to be voted on by the House on Tuesday, November 10th. We need you to lead on this important issue and to do what’s right for Illinois’ families and what’s good for our economy.

SB 570 will save the state’s child care program from being systematically destroyed because of Governor Rauner’s extreme eligibility requirements that are denying 90% of all parents applying to the program. While parents work hard to provide for their children and families, often making extremely low wages, this isn’t the time to cut off an important life line that empowers parents and allows them to rebuild their lives. This program gives parents the tools to work and pay their taxes, and not have to stay at home to receive public aid.

On September 2nd, when SB 570 was called to the House floor for debate, Representative Jesiel you did not cast a vote on this bill.  As parents and providers, we are counting on your leadership now more than ever. We sincerely and respectfully urge you to publicly state your support for protecting CCAP and to cast a vote for SB 570 when it is called.

Within a matter of months, providers and parents are facing the real possibility that CCAP will be hollowed out and collapse entirely.  Such an event would be catastrophic for parents, our communities, and our economy. According to the Springfield Journal Register’s reporting on Oct. 15th, because of Gov. Rauner’s unilateral changes to CCAP it is estimated that at least 15,000 working families have been denied access to affordable child care.  This horrific trend will continue unless action is taken.

Child care providers are small businesses and we will continue to be forced to close our doors. That also means that working parents will be forced into a very difficult decision – to either leave the workforce or cobble together unreliable child care from those who likely have no training or early education experience.

Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program is a vital program that, according to Innovation Illinois’ study, greatly contributes to our state’s economy, empowers working parents to find and to keep jobs, or go back to school to improve their lives knowing their children are safe, nurtured and learning.  The study found that CCAP directly created 77,000 jobs in Illinois, with another 43,000 jobs indirectly. CCAP also generated $7.96 in economic activity for every dollar of general revenue spent which means that Illinois’ child care program is one of the smartest investments we can make.

We respectfully request that you sign our attached pledge to commit to voting for SB 570 to save our state’s child care program that serves our children, families, local economy and our communities.

 

Sincerely,

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ICYMI: Rockford Register-Star Pens Blunt Editorial: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner should cancel draconian child care ’emergency rule’

Parents, Child Care Providers, and Advocates Join Rising Chorus Calling on the House of Representatives to Urgently Pass SB 570 to Save Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program

State Rep. Litesa Wallace from Rockford spends time with child care provider and young children. Rep. Wallace is an outspoken opponent of Gov. Rauner's rule changes to deny parents access to affordable child care.

State Rep. Litesa Wallace from Rockford spends time with a child care provider and young children. Rep. Wallace is an outspoken opponent of Gov. Rauner’s extreme rule changes that are denying parents access to affordable child care.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Contact: Scott.Vogel@seiuhcil.org; or Graeme.Zielinski@seiuhcil.org;

 

CHICAGO – The Rockford Register Star published an editorial today urgently calling on Gov. Rauner to stop his administration’s agenda to dismantle Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and called on state lawmakers to save the vital program for working parents.

The Register Star’s editorial follows the Springfield Journal Register’s reporting that because of Gov. Rauner’s unilateral changes to Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program at least 15,000 working families have been denied access to affordable child care, forcing many to remain unemployed or quit their current jobs altogether. In order to project Illinois families from Rauner’s cuts, parents and child care providers are asking their legislative representatives to support SB 570.

In addition, Innovation Illinois, a think tank which analyses public policy issues in the state, also just published an op-ed in the Rockford Register Star highlighting Gov. Rauner’s emergency rules to Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and how they are inflicting grave damage to the state’s economy. Innovation Illinois’ economic impact study found that the state’s caregiver programs directly support 77,000 jobs in the child care industry. And when those employees spend their combined wages it creates another 43,000 jobs here in Illinois. Gov. Rauner’s attempts to destroy CCAP will cost tens of thousands of jobs, and when coupled with parents being forced out of the workforce for lack of child care, the economic damage will be significant.

 

Rockford Register Star Editorial:

Our View: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner should cancel draconian child care ’emergency rule’

On Oct. 13, a group of Rockford-area child care providers banded together to write a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner to warn him that his “emergency” order to lower subsidies to needy families applying for child care after July 1 is causing damage to the economy and to low-income families.

 

It will also put many day care providers in Illinois out of business.

 

Rauner’s draconian rule reduced the subsidy for new applicants for day care assistance to the point of ridiculousness. It effectively eliminates aid for more than 90 percent of those who applied after July 1. People will either quit their jobs or leave their children home.

 

We remind Republican Rauner that day care assistance was a Republican idea designed in 1997 during the welfare-reform era to help parents get off welfare and allow them to get jobs. It has been successful and, until now, bipartisan.

 

As the day care directors wrote to the governor: “Under your emergency rule, the Child Care Assistance Program no longer allows full-time minimum wage earners to access child care. Have you considered the tax revenue being lost as parents are forced to leave the workforce and our staff lose their jobs because of low enrollments in our centers? Does this make any sense to you?”

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The House can restore the governor’s day care cuts Tuesday by passing the House version of Senate Bill 570, a measure that takes 71 votes, a supermajority, to pass. Democrats have exactly 71 votes in the House.

 

They are not likely to get help from Republicans, who are all afraid of incurring the wrath of Rauner, who is creating his own Republican political organization to elect “friendlies” in 2016. And if you’re a Republican, you waKids_save_child_care_Springfield_lobby_day_rally_580w02_26_15nt to be a “friendly” lest you get surprised by a primary challenger put up by the governor’s minions.

 

Rauner could rescind his emergency order. We hope he does. His “emergency order” is penny foolish and pound foolish.

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As Poll Numbers Nosedive, “Wingman” Munger Joins Jim Edgar in Standing Up to Rauner Extremism

Bipartisan Effort to “Turnaround” Self-Inflicted Budget Stalemate

CHICAGO-News came over the weekend that Comptroller Leslie Munger, who once described herself as Bruce Rauner’s “wingman,” has joined the chorus of Republicans, including former Gov. Jim Edgar, who want Rauner to halt the attacks on collective bargaining that are at the heart of a budget stalemate that has been devastating to vulnerable Illinoisans.

Edgar, for his part, said late last week that Rauner was holding the budget “hostage” with his extreme, non-budgetary demands and even went so far as to say that he would reconsider his endorsement of Rauner.

It’s just a latest sign that Rauner’s “my way or the highway” approach to harm unions, which is shredding the Illinois social safety net in the meantime, is being rejected across Illinois.

The movement against Rauner began gaining steam in early September, when several Republicans joined House Democrats and bucked Rauner’s efforts to eliminate home healthcare for 34,000 seniors and people with disabilities—a piece of legislation that Rauner inexplicably has not signaled whether he will sign, with the 60-day deadline less than three weeks away.

Rauner already had drawn opposition from his own wife for his efforts to destroy child care in Illinois with rule changes that exclude 90 percent of previously eligible working parents, which has already denied at least 15,000 Illinois families child care assistance that allows them to accept employment or keep their current jobs.

Chicago Archbishop Blasé Cupich last month spoke forcefully against “so-called” “right-to-work” efforts, which are at the heart of the Rauner budget stalemate.

And the public outcry against the Rauner billionaire agenda has manifested itself in the polls, including in southern Illinois, where Rauner romped last November. According to a Paul Simon Institute survey released last week, Rauner is underwater there, with an approval rating of a mere 37.4 percent.

But it’s not ALL bad news for Rauner. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that he made $57.5 million in income last year while campaigning for governor, with a large chunk of that money taxed at a rate far below what the working families he wants to deny the right to bargain collectively pay on their income.

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ICYMI: WCIA: Rauner Extreme Contract Demands Would Harm Lowest-Paid State Workers: “Unbelievable and Unfathomable”

Seeks to Strip Away Health Care and Training from Child Care and Home Care Providers

SPRINGFIELD-Overshadowed by the budget impasse that is ravaging social services throughout Illinois, Bruce Rauner also is making extreme demands of tens of thousands of state child care and home care workers, including stripping away their health insurance, in unprecedented moves that threaten the stability of services for seniors, children and people with disabilities.

In a report that first aired Monday, WCIA in Springfield detailed the antagonistic contract talks between SEIU Healthcare Illinois and the Rauner administration, which also wants to take away training from some 52,000 represented workers.

“Truly what the governor is offering (the workers) is unbelievable and unfathomable,” Denise Gaines, the SEIU Healthcare Illinois legislative director, says in the report.

Watch and read the WCIA report here.

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SEIU Healthcare Illinois Issues Statement In Response to Gov. Rauner’s Latest Ploy to Resolve Illinois’ State Budget Crisis

60219_Signs_PROOF_1pg_Rauners_Cuts_Hurt_Families_Page_1For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

 Contact: Graeme.Zielinski@seiuhcil.org;

 

CHICAGO  – James Muhammad, Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, issued the following response to Gov. Rauner’s statements today about his latest empty rhetoric on Illinois’ budget crisis:

“After nearly five months of refusing to sit down and negotiate with legislators, Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to hold millions of the most vulnerable Illinoisans hostage hoping legislators will enact his extreme political agenda.

“The truth is that Rauner has no interest in negotiating.  He simply wants to deflect the daily headlines showing the massive human suffering his cuts are causing.

“It’s long past time for Gov. Rauner to heed the advice of his fellow Republican Gov. Jim Edgar to drop his non-budgetary sideshows like political maps and union-busting and DO HIS JOB — which is to produce a budget that is fair and equitable to all Illinoisans.”

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Chicago Home Care Worker Alantris Muhammad Featured in New Alliance for Justice Documentary

America’s economy has swung out of balance. It’s getting harder to get by, let alone get ahead. Everyday Americans are working more than ever before. Our work has created record wealth for an economic recovery that’s been everywhere but ordinary peoples’ wallets. Our economic rules unfairly favor corporate CEOs and the rich because they manipulate the rules in their favor. Everyone who works should be able to make ends meet, have a say about their futures, and have the right to negotiate together for better wages and benefits that can sustain their family. That is at the heart of the vision of the American labor movement.

The Alliance for Justice recently released a documentary, The Right to Unite, that lifts up the plight of America’s low-wage workers in the home care industry, and connects the dots about powerful corporate interests that are trying to limit the voice of workers. One of the home care workers featured in the short film is our very own SEIU Healthcare Illinois member Alantris Muhammad from the South Suburbs of Chicago.

“I was so thankful for the opportunity to tell my story through this film because so many people don’t realize how indispensable we are to seniors and loved ones all over the country,” explained Muhammad. “I also thought it was important to participate because although the Supreme Court decided against home care workers last summer in Harris v. Quinn, that hasn’t stopped us from uniting and pushing to improve our jobs and the care that our clients count on.”

Watch the full length documentary below.

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“It Needs to Happen Immediately:” Hearings Begin Again on Effort to Reverse Bruce Rauner Assault on Child Care in Illinois

Child care providers, parents, academics, legislators, business group representatives, small business owners, moms.

In the auditorium of a state building Tuesday, about three dozen Illinoisans testified against the rules changes by Bruce Rauner that are destroying the Child Care Assistance Program.

It was the first in a series of hearings that continue Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Bilandic Building in downtown Chicago.

Several of the citizens who testified were accompanied by their kids-or the kids they care for-including Peoria Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, whose 15-month-old daughter Jianna accompanied her onstage.

“There is a solution,” Gordon-Booth said, referencing her co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 570, which would reverse the Rauner rules changes that are excluding more than 90 percent of previously eligible applicants.

That was good news for Galesburg parent Chante Morrison, denied care under the Rauner rules: “There needs to be action taken and it needs to happen immediately.”

Morrison, a mother of two, testified that without the child care, she lost her job at a big box store because the $10 per hour she made was, by Rauner’s judgment, too much to qualify.

Tiki Tunstall, a provider from Belleville, testified that the changes are denying opportunities to parents who want to better themselves.

And Adriene Jones, a provider from Springfield, wondered why Rauner could find money for a big corporation like ConAgra, whose subsidy could top $1 million, while leaving poor and working families in the lurch: “I think Governor Rauner owes it to them…to treat them with the same care, respect and dignity that he gives to fellow millionaires.”

Gordon-Booth sounded a hopeful note as she ended the hearing, saying that on October 20th, when the House of Representatives is back in session, there may be the 71 votes required to overturn the Rauner rules.

“We need a solution…Now.”

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Child Care Provider Adriene Jones Speaks Out at Springfield DHS Hearing

Springfield child care provider Adriene Jones spoke out at the DHS hearing on rules before JCAR Tuesday, October 6, sharing her perspective about the devastating impact that Governor Rauner’s eligibility changes have had on her business and the families she serves.

I am Adriene Jones, and I am a child care provider based here in Springfield for 7 and a half years.

I care for about a dozen kids, and serve about 7 parents.

I am testifying today because I am concerned that Governor Rauner is intentionally harming the Child Care Assistance Program and is abusing his administrative power.

The rules changes are preventing working parents from doing what they want to do-to work.

In recent months I have heard of several parents who have been denied child care and were not able to work.

One parent who applied for CCAP for my business was denied.

She works at a nursing home in Rochester and had to stop working because she has a sick child and needs care to continue to work.

This is not a rich person. She THOUGHT she was just under the income guidelines. She does not have a fancy home. She does not have a fancy car – and is borrowing her mom’s car. She qualifies for Section 8 and for the LINK card.

This is not a wealthy woman.

This is not a corporate executive.

I mention that because I have heard news reports that, even though we cannot fully fund and support child care for working parents, Governor Rauner has found millions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations.

It is not right that corporations continue to get all the breaks, and yet a working mother with a sick kid and two other children is made to pay the price.

I will continue to provide a high level of care for the kids that have become like my own family.

And because they are like my family, I think Governor Rauner owes it to them and to the their parents to treat them with the same care, respect and dignity that he gives to his fellow millionaires.

We are in a real struggle. This is a real fight for the parents and the providers. How can he attack the smallest people in the community while he is protecting the richest?

This is not fair. I ask you to act.

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Chante Morrison: We have a child care crisis in Illinois. It’s happening right now.

chante morrisonChante Morrison, Galesburg mother of two, gave the following testimony in front of the DHS hearing on rules before JCAR today:

Hello my name is Chante Morrison and I’m from Galesburg, Illinois. I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opposition to Governor Rauner’s eligibility rules changes to the Child Care Assistance Program today. 

I want everyone here to understand that we have a child care crisis happening in Illinois. And it’s happening RIGHT NOW. When Governor Rauner implemented his eligibility rule changes it was done without any public input or regard for the impact on single, working moms like myself.

I have two beautiful daughters, Jelunni is 3 years old and Chantierra is 7. I want my girls to have a better life than I do; I want to help them achieve all of their hopes and dreams just like any other parent. Chantierra wants to be a teacher one day, and I will do anything in my power to help her reach that goal. It’s a constant struggle as a single parent though. I didn’t plan on raising two children alone, but life happens. 

Over the summer I was working at a big box store in Galesburg doing everything I could to support my kids. I didn’t earn much there, just a little over $10 an hour. My daughters and I were living with my sister because the $1100 a month that I earned at my job wasn’t enough to cover rent, child care, and put food on the table. My three year old also has a condition which has required her to go through multiple surgeries so I always need to think about possible healthcare costs that could arise for her as well.

When I first started my job, my child care situation was very difficult. I had a family member look after my older child, but the three year old required more care than that family member could provide. For as long as I could, I was paying out of pocket for child care for my youngest, but the $320/month was becoming too much to cover. I was constantly trying to find reliable care for my girls so I could keep my job and get back on my feet. It wasn’t a good situation for any of us though – a revolving door of caregivers and constantly shuffling them from one house to another in between my shifts.

Around July 10, I heard about the Child Care Assistance Program and thought my prayers would finally be answered. I went and applied as fast as I could, only to find out that eligibility rules had changed and I could only earn $838 a month to qualify. I was denied the child care assistance I so desperately needed.

Soon after, I lost my job because I couldn’t find affordable child care. Had I not been denied from the Child Care Assistance Program this could have all turned out differently and I could still be working and supporting my family right now.

I don’t want to rely on public assistance, none of the parents who utilize this program do. We are parents who want to work or go to school to improve our lives and the lives of our children. But now, Governor Rauner is forcing us on to welfare.

I am just one example, 90% of families applying for child care assistance are now being denied due to the Governor’s eligibility changes statewide.

I am not a policy expert, but I am a mother and I can tell you firsthand the terrible struggle that my children and I have been going through the last few months due to Governor Rauner’s rule changes.

Now is a time when we need as many people in the workforce contributing to the tax base as possible. The Child Care Assistance Program enables parents like me to work, but it also creates and supports many jobs in the child care industry.

As more and more child care providers see their enrollments dwindle due to these cuts, they will be forced to close their doors. The devastation to the Illinois child care system continues with each passing day that these rules remain in place.

I pray that our lawmakers will stand up for families like mine and roll back Governor Rauner’s rule changes. In the meantime, families are continuing to suffer though. There needs to be action taken, and it needs to happen immediately.

Thank you so much for your time and for listening to my story.

 

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Roseland Community Members Protest South Side Chase Bank Branch to Demand that the Rich Pay Their Fair Share In Taxes to Protect Vital Services

Members of the Roseland community protest Chase Bank on Thurs, Oct. 1st, 2015; to demand that the rich and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes to protect vital services and to invest in low-income neighborhoods.

Members of the Roseland community protest Chase Bank on Thurs, Oct. 1st, 2015; to demand that the rich and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes to protect vital services and to invest in low-income neighborhoods.

After Three Months of Governor Rauner’s Government Shutdown, Residents of Roseland Community Say Illinois’ Unfair Tax System Favors the Rich, Big Banks and Major Corporations While Wrecking Havoc On Local Economy and Hurting Working Families

(October 1st, 2015, Chicago) — Working families, along with faith and community leaders from the Roseland area held a protest outside a Chase Bank branch on the south side of Chicago and delivered a letter to the bank’s management to demand that the rich pay their share in taxes to protect vital services for working families.

After three months of Gov. Rauner’s ongoing state government shutdown, advocates urgently called on state lawmakers and the Governor to pass a state budget and to “choose revenue solutions” to invest in low-income communities like Roseland instead of slashing vital programs such as child care, home care, and Medicaid assistance.

Working families in the Roseland community continue to suffer from a complete lack of good jobs that pay living wages, quality public schools, affordable housing, and access to affordable child care and healthcare.

Faith and community leaders say that economic violence is fueling real violence in our communities that is destroying lives.

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