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Ill. to provide 3 months of childcare assistance for unemployed parents, relief funding to childcare providers

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 2:51 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 11:52 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services announced the state would support parents and childcare providers in COVID-19 recovery.

Beginning October 1, parents who are unemployed and actively seeking employment will be eligible for three months of Child Care Assistance, provided they meet the standard CCAP eligibility requirements.

IDHS will expand its Child Care Assistance Program eligibility to include the free coverage.

If parents become employed or enroll in an education program before the end of the three-month period and meet all other CCAP eligibility requirements, their eligibility will continue for 12 months in total.

Families interested in applying for support through the Child Care Assistance Program, can contact their local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) which can be found online or by calling 1-877-202-4453 toll-free.

In addition, DHS will launch the Child Care Workforce Bonus program next month.

Through the program, all staff at licensed and license-exempt childcare centers and homes will be eligible to receive up to a $1000 bonus, provided they meet all licensing and health and safety requirements.

Childcare workers will receive the payment through their employer between October 2021 and March 2022.

Application information about the program will be available for employers via the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies in the coming weeks.

Employers are required to pay staff 100 percent of the bonus amount awarded by the state.

“Childcare is an essential part of a strong and equitable economy, and I’m proud that Illinois is leading the nation in supporting families and providers,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Without safe and affordable childcare, too many caregivers - especially women - can’t return to the workforce. We’re taking a major step to address this problem in Illinois, and rebuild our childcare ecosystem - and rebuild it better.”

The administration will also launch a final round of 2021 Child Care Restoration Grants and later this year will open applications for 2022 Stabilization Grants.

According to Governor Pritzker’s office, of the licensed childcare centers who received a state grant in 2020, 98 percent are still open and serving children.

Approximately 30 percent fewer childcare centers closed over the last year than closed on average each year from 2016 to 2018.

Currently, 93,406 children are served through the CCAP.

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