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Revenue Collapse Jeopardizes Vital Work Support for Thousands of Illinois Families

An essential work support for thousands of Illinois families is in jeopardy because it has run out of money, just one of the many likely casualties from the state’s revenue collapse.

Working families across Illinois can afford quality child care thanks to the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which allows parents to go to work knowing that their children are being cared for in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment. With CCAP, families share in the cost for participation in child care programs through fees tied to their income.

However, this essential support service has $296 million less than it needs to cover its full costs through the end of June, thanks to the precipitous drop in revenue that lawmakers allowed recently. Providers have been notified that, beginning this month, payments will be delayed and families may lose access to the program.

Either outcome would be devastating to the ability of thousands of low-income families to afford child care. Payment delays threaten to put many providers out of business and service reductions put hard-working parents in a terrible dilemma. Leslie, a participating parent, explains: “Without child care, I would have to stay home with my daughter and would have to do my best to try to teach her, but how would I provide for her? If I don’t have CCAP and I don’t work, how am I going to have a roof over her head, put food in her mouth, or shoes on her feet?”

CCAP’s budget shortfall — and the consequences for children, families, and providers that will follow — are the result of the 25 percent plunge in income tax rates that occurred on January 1, 2015. Illinois is now losing billions of dollars, which threatens many critical investments in child well-being like CCAP. Without the revenue needed to pay its bills and make investments in the well-being of children and the future of our state, working parents and their children will have to suffer more disruptive and counterproductive cuts to vital services that directly aid Illinois’ economy.

We are a stronger Illinois when parents are able to afford child care that enables them to continue working and supports their children’s healthy development. A stronger Illinois supports access to affordable child care, and lawmakers should take the responsible path and provide the resources our state needs.

For more information on the importance of CCAP and threats to this important program, check out the “A Stronger Illinois” brief below and listen to this interview on WUIS with Voices’ Policy and Advocacy Director Emily Miller:

 

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