SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Reinforcing her proven dedication and commitment to working-class families, first responders, medical professionals, warehouse workers, and all others who work atypical hours, State Representative Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, is sponsoring the Off-Hours Child Care Act to provide monetary assistance to child care centers so that they can care for the children of those who work nontraditional shifts.
“Working ‘off-hours’ is difficult in many ways, but finding responsible and safe child care is at the top of that list. This bill has deep meaning to me because I lived it. I worked overnights in Chicago when my daughter was young and finding someone to reliably care for her during those shifts was very difficult,” Manley said. “If the last few years have shown us anything; it’s that our work force has been asked to adapt and reinvent the workplace. Many people have had to work either extended hours or had to take positions that were outside of common day-care provider hours.”
The majority of child care centers are open only during standard business hours, which leaves many shift workers without access to adequate and stable child care choices. House Bill 1571 gives the Illinois Department of Human Services authority to design an off-hours child care program that both addresses and meets the unique needs of those who work outside of stereotypical hours. This program will be informed by a report of recommendations determined by an advisory committee within the Illinois Early Learning Council.
“A lack of child care is a source of great stress and, without question, a barrier to job security.” said Manley. “Providing workers, such as first responders, medical professionals, and other shift workers an option for child care during their work hours is a huge help for these families.”
House Bill 1571 passed the House of Representatives and heads to the Senate for consideration.