The State of Illinois is providing more pandemic-led relief to child care providers across the state.
Governor J.B. Pritzker was joined by Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou last Thursday in Chicago in announcing that $300 million in new relief grants will be made available to child care providers. The state is also extending a previous grant program by providing nearly $50 million to previous grant recipients.
According to IDHS, this brings the state’s child care pandemic relief grant total to more than $1 billion.
Pritzker touted the investments, saying it was yet another reason why Illinois is a place to start and raise a family: “To date, these relief grants have reached more than 5,000 providers and crucially, 97% of 2020’s recipients remain open for business today. Despite all the pains of the pandemic, they are still able to serve Illinois families. For working parents, that makes all the difference. Our newest round of grants will further support providers’ abilities to recruit and retain workers. Launching in February, these grants will focus on homes and centers that serve the 95,000 Illinois children whose families participate in our state’s childcare assistance programs – CCAP.”
Secretary Hou says that the investments will help to retain staff, pay and support existing staff, and provide relief to working families: “To help recruit and retain excellent staff, at least 50% of these funds will be invested in new personnel and workforce initiatives that focus on increasing compensation and benefits. In addition to these strengthen and grow grants, the Department of Human Services wants to ensure that all childcare providers are supported so there is going to be an additional 6-month extension to our childcare restoration grants, which have provided financial assistance to childcare programs experiencing hardship since the beginning of the pandemic. These stabilization investments have allowed for increased rates for providers, reduced the financial burden of childcare for parents, and have created innovative, workable policies that support families and providers through the ever-evolving conditions of COVID-19.”
Applications for this newest round of funding are due in early January, with funding beginning to be distributed in February 2022 and through January 2023. Application information about the newest round of grants and Restoration Grant extensions will be available for providers through the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies’ website.