SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To provide working families with consistent child care services, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, recently supported legislation that would protect the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) from future cuts by establishing the eligibility requirements for the program in state law.
“The child care assistance program was first created by Democrats and Republicans to help low-income families and parents going to school afford quality child care,” Manley said. “For decades, the program has been a successful tool that has helped parents care for their children while they try to create a better life for their family. Unfortunately, despite all of its success, the program was almost destroyed by Governor Rauner.”
Manley co-sponsored House Bill 5599, which establishes the eligibility threshold for CCAP at 185 percent of the then-current federal poverty level. The measure is in response to changes to the program made by Gov. Rauner in 2015 that lowered the income threshold from 185 percent to 50 percent of the federal poverty level. This action disqualified thousands of low-income families across the state, and forced many to choose between going to work or to stay home to watch their children. The threshold was raised to 162 percent of the federal poverty level in late 2015, and was finally restored to the initial 185 percent in October of 2017. Manley wants working families and child care providers to be able to count on the program, and wants to avoid future administrations from making drastic changes that throw the lives of thousands of Illinois residents into chaos.
“When the governor changed the eligibility requirements, daycares across the state were put under tremendous financial strain and were forced to close their doors or layofa staff,” said Manley. “This legislation would give families, business owners and employees who depend on the program with financial stability, regardless of who the governor is. This program is a win-win for the state and the families who will eventually gain financial independence.”