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Committee makes immediate changes to child care program

ccapupdate mrDecision raises eligibility to crucial program for working families

CHICAGO - Since July 1, thousands of Illinois children have been turned away from the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Cuts enacted by the governor dramatically lowered eligibility to CCAP, turning away 90 percent of previously eligible children.

Earlier this week, a state panel that sets rules for CCAP voted to enact an agreement reached by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) and the governor restoring eligibility to 90% of applicants, according to Illinois Action for Children. For example, a family of two earning up to $2,151 a month can immediately access CCAP services. That family had been cut out by the governor.

Senator Hutchinson, lead sponsor of Senate Bill 570 which would have rolled back eligibility to levels before the governor’s cuts, attended the meeting.

“While I know we all are disappointed in the failure of Senate Bill 570, this agreement with the governor is a win,” Hutchinson said. “It is a win to child care centers that are on the verge of permanently laying off staff and closing their doors. It is a win for the working mother supporting her child on an income that can’t come close to fully paying the $12,000 per year it takes on average to pay for child care.”

Among other provisions, the agreement increases eligibility to CCAP from around $660 a month for a family of two to $2,151 a month. 

“We aren’t 100 percent there yet, but I don’t want anyone to be discouraged,” Hutchinson said. “The governor has committed to completely restoring eligibility to CCAP once we have a final budget agreement in place.”

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