Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that parents in the state trying to find employment will be able to apply for 3 months of childcare assistance from the state.
The Illinois Department of Human Services is expanding the Child Care Assistance Program. Pritzker says the expansion is a nation-leading program aimed at putting people back to work: “For parents looking for work, Illinois will provide three months of child care. Anyone who is engaged in a job search and otherwise qualifies for childcare assistance can access this benefit starting October 1st. DHS, Department of Human Services is working closely with its sister agencies as well as through its network of resource and referral agencies to support many families who may not have qualified for CCAP before. Despite claims by some that unemployment benefits were ruining the job market, we’ve now watched study after study prove that states that slashed unemployment benefits during the pandemic saw almost no uptick in job applicants, but a plurality of job seekers who are parents cite care responsibilities as their primary reason particularly those without college degrees.”
Pritzker says the initiative is twofold. It’s also aimed at keeping childcare providers in their position around the state to help provide this crucial care to the currently unemployed: “Childcare work is often some of the least appreciated work out there. Not by me. And it’s an industry where staffs, most of whom are women, have historically been underpaid. So in the coming months, Illinois will also be sending a bonus of up to $1,000 to everyone who works in a childcare center or childcare home in Illinois. It’s a simple thing that we can do to say ‘thank you’ to the people who carry the rest of the working world on their shoulders; and it sends a message to families across the nation that Illinois is a great place to raise a young family because we value our childcare workforce.”
The childcare workforce bonuses are scheduled for disbursement next month and will continue through March 2022.
Families interested in applying for support through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), can contact their local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency at inccrra.org or by calling 1-877-202-4453.