Governor Rauner Signs Legislation to Partially Restore Child Care Assistance Program to Vulnerable Families

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But still moves back-door cuts to throw thousands of parents, children off the vital program

On August 28th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 3213/SB1705 which would restore access to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) for families enrolled full-time in non-TANF education and training programs, by adding them to the program’s priority populations in statute.

In July 2015 Governor Rauner unilaterally restricted parents enrolled in an education or training program from CCAP eligibility and they were NOT reinstated when the program was partially restored later that year. Advocates estimate that by adding these families to the priority populations would restore CCAP services to between 4,000 – 5,000 children.

Rauner’s 2015 cuts CCAP eliminated nearly 40,000 families thanks to education and income level restrictions. At the time of the cuts, Rauner promised that as soon as a budget is secured the program would be fully restored. While reinstating the education eligibility to the program is an important step forward for thousands of families- Rauner still needs to follow through with his promise on restoring income eligibility to 185% of the federal poverty line. Restoring the income eligibility to 185% the federal poverty line would allow a family of three that makes $37,777 to be eligible for CCAP versus the current eligibility of $33,080 for a family of three.

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Rauner signs this legislation on top of the looming threat of thousands of children being eliminated from CCAP thanks to heavily burdensome mandatory training requirements on providers. This crisis in CCAP can easily be avoided with a federally-allowed exemption of relative care providers from the mandatory training requirements and an extension on the September 30, 2017 deadline.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, who represent around 19,000 licensed and unlicensed child care providers, demand that Governor Rauner restore eligibility for families to 185% of the poverty line and exempt relative care providers from the mandatory training program. Child Care Providers and advocates will be delivering thousands of postcards to Governor Rauner’s office at the Thompson Center to demand that he fully restore CCAP and stop the backdoor cuts.

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