CHICAGO – State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, is fighting against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s extreme cuts to child care assistance, by advancing legislation requiring the state to continually examine whether the needs of child caregivers are adequately met by the state.
“We know that the most important development period in any child’s life is during the pre-school years,” Stratton said. “What we don’t know is how two years without having a budget has affected our child care workers, and the families they serve. I imagine that the governor’s cuts have caused the morale of child care workers, most of whom are already underpaid, to plummet. I want solutions to lift morale and wages, which I believe will also lift up our children.”
Stratton has introduced House Bill 3167, which would require Illinois’ Department of Human Services to regularly study the state of the child care workforce, the training child care workers require, and the pay level required to retain child care workers in the profession. Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley found in 2016 that nearly half of the 36,000 workers within the Illinois child care education teaching workforce in Illinois are part of families that rely on some type of public assistance, including 25 percent of these families which rely on food stamps.
“I suspect that our child care providers aren’t getting paid enough, and they are taking care of the people we love at the most critical part of their lives,” Stratton continued. “Our child care workers are teaching our youngest children and have some of the greatest responsibilities we can ask of anyone. They can really make an impact, but we need to give them the tools to succeed.”
Stratton’s child care workforce legislation was approved by the Human Services Committee on March 15. The legislation now heads to the full House for approval.
Stratton speaking during a committee hearing. Stratton helped pass legislation out of committee recently that would examine the top issues facing the child care workforce.
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