Will He Use Funds to Restore Program He Has Attacked?
MEMO TO REPORTERS:
The budget deal passed in Washington last week contains billions in significant new funding for child care, in the form of block grants. So what does that mean for Illinois children?
As his budget address looms Wednesday and with steep cuts to social service programs rumored, will Gov. Bruce Rauner turn his back on the new federal support and continue his hostility to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which today is covering tens of thousands fewer children and families after brutal cuts?
While the Congress and Trump administration have pledged new support for low-income children and families, the Gov. Rauner administration has spent the past three years launching administrative and budgetary attacks on CCAP.
The consequences have been devastating.
Dating back to his administration’s eligibility cuts in 2015, Illinois enjoys the dubious distinction of being among only a handful of states that have experienced their largest single-year decline on record. And Illinois is one of only 18 states where the number of children served dropped by MORE THAN 25 percent over ten years.
In November 2015, as the Rauner cuts were being initiated as the budget impasse began, the program served about 180,000 children. In November last year, the program had about 130,000 served, a decline of 25 percent, DESPITE self-serving claims that the program had been restored (via the now-infamous deal announced by Gov. Rauner ally and former Rep. Ken Dunkin).
Illinois Action for Children has estimated a 30,000-child reduction in the program.
But lawmakers in Washington charted out a new path last week.
The recent bipartisan federal budget deal includes $5.8 billion new dollars for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), meant to cover an additional 230,000 children, money that will be available to states like Illinois this year.
The budget address is tomorrow:
Will Governor Rauner use these funds to repair the damage he has caused?