Cutting state support for child care is unwise, according to those familiar with the program. The Child Care Assistance Program pays for day care for kids so their low-income parents can work. The governor proposes increasing the co-pay that the parents must contribute, limiting this to kids under 5 instead of 12, and making relatives ineligible to be on the receiving end of the payments – though Sessy Nyman of Illinois Action for Children says there’s a need for that.
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“That is a form of care that is really important for families who work variable work schedules, who work odd hours, who work at Target or Wal-Mart or in a factory where they have an odd shift, where there isn’t a center or a licensed home facility that provides care during those middle-of-the-night hours, weekend hours,” she said.
State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the chairman of the House appropriations committee for human services, says this program – partially federally funded – was instituted as part of welfare reform in 1996, and cutting it will backfire: People will leave the workforce.
This is a program that has run out of money in the current fiscal year, and is getting by to some extent on federal funds.