Gov. Quinn Will Approve Child-Care Legislation

By: Lauren Kravets, Faran Fronczak
By: Lauren Kravets, Faran Fronczak

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois child care agencies that faced an uncertain financial future got a reprieve from lawmakers.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday a measure that shifts state funding to carry the child care fund through the end of the budget year in June.

The Democrat acted just hours after the Senate sent him legislation to shuffled $73.6 million from other parts of the budget.

The Department of Human Services program that subsidizes community or in-home child care for parents who work, go to school or job training was out of money. That might have meant some of the providers would have to close.

Legislators also used the bill to move $151 million into paying down a Medicaid health care program bill backlog.


The bill is SB2450


UPDATE 5/18/2012: After weeks of uncertainty, local child care providers will get paid after all.

There was no opposition in the senate today as lawmakers approved a nearly 74 million dollar bill to help pay daycares. Just two weeks ago they were told they wouldn't get paid for three months because the state ran out of money.

That would've forced some of them to close. However, after shuffling money around the daycares will now get paid, but other agencies won't. This means the stack of unpaid bills to places like schools and nursing homes will grow.

While child care providers are happy they'll get paid now, they're still concerned about cuts that are outlined in the budget for next fiscal year. It includes 85 million dollars in cuts to child care funding.

Governor Quinn is expected to sign this bill immediately. It also includes moving more than 150 million dollars to paying down a bill for a Medicaid program.

UPDATE 5/17/2012: Local child care providers are still waiting on the state to pay them millions of promised dollars and they could finally see that money within the next week.

The Illinois Senate is expected to discuss the supplemental bill tomorrow. and possibly approve it.

The house already passed the measure yesterday. The emergency funding would pay out 74 million dollars to day cares that rely on the Child Care Assistance Program, a subsidy for parents.

UPDATE: 5/9/2012: Some of you told us in the Pulse that you wanted to hear more about the daycare dilemma. You may recall some local daycares could be closing in a month if they don’t receive money that's been promised to them by the state.

It's been a week since local child care providers were notified by the state, that they won't receive funding for three months, for the child care assistance program.

Many daycares rely on that funding to keep the facilities running. This morning, about 25 directors from Stateline providers gathered to decide their next steps.

Some have already stopped enrolling children and several say if they don't get funding. They could be forced to close their doors in 30 days. That also puts a major burden on parents. Their only hope lies in the hands of legislators to find funding somewhere.

Senator Dave Syverson said, "The daycare community and some other legislators are trying to get this thing resolved sooner then later and our goal would be to get something done next week so it's off the table before we start dealing with the budget issue."

Executive Director of Circles of Learning Diane Stout said, "We also talked about daycare parents calling legislators and talking about why they need the daycare assistance subsidy so they can be able to work because most of us passionately believe taxpayers would rather see people work then be home on public aid and that's what the subsidy program is all about."

About a hundred child care providers and parents will rally in Springfield next week to call on legislators for emergency funding.

There's been talk of having parents pay the full price of day care, but low-income parents have told us they don’t think they can afford the cost.

More than 55-hundred Rockford area kids benefit from the Child Care Assistance Program.

These aren't the only cuts child care providers are dealing with. They've been told by the state that they'll receive less funding in the next fiscal year. That means comes July first they'll have to increase parent co-pays.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Many local child care providers are still in shock after learning they won't be getting paid for at least three months and that's expected to have a trickle down effect on parents. 23 News spoke to one mother who doesn't know what she'll do.

More than 100 kids attend Blackhawk Learning Connection in Rockford and all but five of them get help paying for the day care through the 'Child Care Assistance Program'. State funding has run out for the program. That means child care centers won't get paid until July and parents could be forced to pay full price. That's something that has Corrin Grado worried.

She said, "It scares me because it's like can I afford it? I don't think I can. And if I can't afford a daycare, work, is to pay the bills, rent, gas, electric."

The cuts are also taking a toll on daycares. Leaders at Blackhawk Learning Connection say they can’t go three months without pay and if they don't get funding they could be forced to shut down.

Executive Director Kathy Powell has been with the center since it opened 42 years ago and she's never seen it this bad.

She said, "We've had problems with funding in the past but never had it where they said they ran out of money."

Powell will meet with the Board of Directors next week to decide their next steps. Until then Grado can't stop worrying about how the cuts will affect her family.

She said, "I start thinking of all these things even though it's the future but it's something I'm thinking about now."

Right now, the program brings parent co-pays down to $1/month through $200/month.

The cost can be upwards of $1,000 a month for a child under the age of 2 without the program’s assistance. Blackhawk is now sending out letter to parents to inform them of the cuts.

Currently, there is an emergency bill in the works but its not expected to make it to the legislature until May 18.

YWCA leaders say the bill is misleading because it's not an independent bill. It's expected to pass with the 2013 budget -- and as always -- it's unclear when that will happen.

ILLINOIS (WIFR) -- Thousands of Stateline kids benefit from the Child Care Assistance Program that helps parents pay for daycare. Now the Illinois Department of Human Services says there isn't enough money to pay for the rest of the fiscal year.

Toys, books, and food are just some of the things Annette Yount pays out of pocket to run her at home daycare. "It's about $1300 a month that I will be having to wait for my payment," she says.

Yount sits for 3 children who are paid for by the Child Care Assistance Program. She just found out she won't get her April, May and June payments till July, since the state has run out of cash. "Usually our June payment is late because of the fiscal year, but this is the earliest it's ever started that they said they won't get us paid till the new fiscal year. My creditors aren't going to say, 'We don't care that you're not paying your bills just because the state's not paying there's,'" she says.

Even though Yount will have to struggle to get by, she says daycare centers will get hit even harder. She says, "We'll probably just take the hit till we do get paid. We're probably not going to drop those families and just continue to work for free. Daycare centers, I don't know. They've got a lot more state funded kids... I don't know if they'll be able to stay open."

Yount says those who rely on state funding for child care could be forced to quit their jobs. She says, "It will make you think twice to take state-paid kids. You're going to want the private-paid kids first. Because at least then you know you're going to get paid."

Spokespeople for the Childcare Assistance Programs say they've requested additional funds from the General Assembly, but to date it hasn't received any additional dollars. An emergency bill is making its way through the legislature, but a decision isn't expected until May 18th at the earliest.

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