WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday morning, state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, traveled to Washington, D.C. to join a discourse with other state leaders on legislation to advance child care in America.
“At a time in which our goals are to build up the foundations of Illinois communities to combat system challenges like substance abuse, poverty and crime, affordable and high-quality child care could not be more vital. I am proud of the progress I’ve been able to drive in Illinois, and I thank the White House for bringing me into the national discourse,” Collins said. “This conference yielded substantial results. My counterparts in other states have taken smart approaches to expand child care services, and I was proud to share the steps Illinois has taken—such as making the most substantial child care investment of any state in the country.”
State leaders were divided into subgroups to discuss various aspects of improving child care. Collins was part of a group that focused on protecting the child care workforce and stabilizing the industry in case of possible crises.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the child care industry faced a substantial economic downturn as schools closed and their services were no longer needed,” Collins said. “In Illinois, we provided $300 million dollars in relief to workers to help them navigate the emergency. Similar policy must be in place on a nation-wide scale in the event of similar problems.”
Collins’ work to improve child care in Illinois includes passing measures to increase the income eligibility threshold for child care benefits, require exit interviews with kids leaving foster care and pushing for child care coverage in the yearly budget. Collins also serves as the Vice-Chairperson of the House Adoption and Child Welfare Committee and a member of the House Human Services Committee.
“Without accessible child care, working parents—especially single parents—cannot always give their kids the round-the-clock care that they deserve,” Collins said. “We are forcing these parents to shoulder heavy burdens even as they have no option but to leave their children without a caregiver at young ages. Good care for our children isn’t something that should be restricted based on income. The initiatives we explored today and have been exploring in Illinois in recent years will help alleviate that issue.”