The state of Illinois plans to cut a significant slice out of its Child Care Assistance Program, which will effectively prevent 85,000 parents throughout the state from gaining access to state-assisted childcare.1
This should put a nice big chunk of cash back into the state budget for other ‘priority’ expenses, like Illinois’ mandated investments to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF.)
But what will Illinois sacrifice by removing “this safety net” – the lifeline for many low-income parents and their day-care providers?
The Child Care Assistance program is the result of social welfare reform of 1996, which encouraged states to invest in welfare programs that reward individuals for working hard. The same initiative was implemented by the state of Illinois in order to allow parents to focus on advancing their careers while the state paid for childcare.
Take that assistance away, and you have parents scrambling to find ways to pay for their children’s childcare all over again. This means less hours at work and stressed-out parents who can no longer pursue higher-yielding careers.
This is especially painful for working single parents that have no partners to help them care for their children. Single mothers who don’t earn enough to pay for childcare will be forced to cut down on their working hours just to take care of their children.
And I think that the state of Illinois forgets the fact that these are taxpayers whose tax payments depend on the amount of money they can earn.
In response to this move, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) has introduced a bill to prevent Illinois from cutting child care assistance. The bill aims to fund the program by taking unspent money from Medicare Part B premiums that were charged to the state by the federal government.
In short, Illinois should use money sitting idle to pay for childcare assistance – which should have been a no-brainer considering the importance of day-care assistance in the first place.
- Source: SAL Family and Community Services – Effects of Proposed Budget Cuts to Child Care Assistance Program. [↩]