SPRINGFIELD—(ENEWSPF)–Sept. 18, 2017 – Governor Bruce Rauner today announced that the state’s Department of Human Services (IDHS) will broaden access to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The move fulfills an agreement made with the legislature in 2015 to raise the income eligibility criteria to 185% of the federal poverty level from 162%. It means 16,000 more children will receive child care each month, for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018.
Rauner included the funds to boost the levels in his proposed budget and stressed that the CCAP funding decision was made to ensure that parents can continue working without worrying about how their children will be cared for. “I am proud to stand with families who are working two or three jobs just to make a living,” he said. “Many of them are already struggling, and now they’re taking an even deeper cut in their income thanks to the 32% increase in income taxes the legislature passed in July.”
Even with the massive tax hike, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimates the state budget is at least $1.7 billion out of balance. Rauner is asking the legislature to work with him to identify additional spending reforms and bring the budget into balance.
Criteria for CCAP eligibility are determined through the administrative rule making process, which is overseen by the bipartisan, legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. IDHS plans to implement the new criteria through emergency rulemaking, ensuring more families can receive child care as quickly as possible. The Department will also continue working with the child care community to closely monitor the availability of funds and make adjustments, when necessary, to ensure the state is meeting the needs of families while still being fiscally responsible.