On the eve of the next Illinois legislative session day, the governor's office announced it would reverse itself on most of the people it threw out of subsidized child care program.
The Child Care Assistance Program, or C-CAP, pays third-party child care providers whose clients are of low income. The governor's office this year cut the eligibility threshold from 185 percent of the federal poverty level to fifty percent.
Advocates argued the decision is a loser for the state's economy, as the program, they argue, benefits parents who are working and / or attending class. Without the program, the parents would be unemployed and not able to attend school.
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A statement from the governor's office Monday said “bipartisan discussion with legislators” led officials to agree to restore most of those affected – moving the threshold to 162 percent of the federal poverty level.
Not everybody is grateful.
“Why are we here now?” asks James Muhammad, spokesman for SEIU Healthcare Illinois. “The answer is: the governor, through an abuse of power and an abuse of rules, chose to eliminate thousands of children of working parents and impact child care providers as well by dismantling and attempting to dismantle, the program.” Muhammad adds there's nothing stopping the governor from changing the rules again later.
Restoring the subsidy Tuesday is the goal of State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth. “Any changes made to (C-CAP) should come through the legislature. That allows stakeholders to come to the table and to create ways to reform the program, not destroy the program.”