Illinois Now Worst State for Affordable Childcare

If you've seen the news or have read the headlines, you know Illinois is in a state of crisis right now.

The fact that Illinois still does not have a state budget, forces many women and girls, particularly working mothers, to make difficult decisions on how to keep themselves safe, care for their families and make a living. Moreover, Governor Rauner recently and unilaterally cut the Child Care Assistance Program in Illinois, meaning that a single mom of two children entering the workforce can only access child care assistance in Illinois if she makes less than $838 per month. It's not surprising that The National Women's Law Center ranked our state as worst in the nation for access to quality, affordable child care.

As a growing list of organizations have either lost funding or stopped accepting new clients, families are acutely experiencing the effects of governmental inaction. CFW recently learned about a young mother without family support who was struggling to find a childcare plan for her newborn before she could go back to work. Due to lack of assistance, she had to quit her job to care for her child, and now we can only imagine that she and her daughter will need far more than child care assistance from the government.

This is not an isolated case. There are thousands more like it, where women are forced to return to their abuser because they've lost child care assistance. Or, where recent graduates of a job training program are being forced to repeatedly turn down new offers of employment to stay home with their children.

Elected officials including the Governor must do their job. Illinois must pass a state budget that includes adequate revenue to fund the Child Care Assistance Program so mothers can get back to work. We cannot hold vulnerable families who are trying to work and make a decent life for their loved ones, hostage.

To learn more, visit Voices for Illinois Children. If you have been impacted by the state budget impasse or know someone who has, share your stories via social media and tag Chicago Foundation for Women via Facebook or Twitter.

Join the Chicago City Council's Committee on Education and Child Development on November 9 for a hearing on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The committee will hear testimony from providers, parents, and advocates on Alderman Will Burns' resolution, which calls for Governor Rauner and the General Assembly to prioritize CCAP and reverse the new rules that are keeping 90% of new applicants from being eligible for the program. November 9th, 2015 - 11:00am; City Council Chambers; 121 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602