) Governor JB Pritzker announced a significant expansion of financial assistance for both families and providers, allowing children to return to quality, affordable child care programs.
Eighty percent of families will pay less for child care under this latest round of changes, to be administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
Beginning July 1, DHS will facilitate the following improvements:
"Child care is essential to working families, and our recovery and growth as a state. These actions will help keep child care affordable for families and providers' doors open. As advocates and providers, we celebrate these actions from the Governor, which continue to prioritize children, families, and the providers that support them," said April Janney, President & CEO of Illinois Action for Children.Read/watch the full story here
- Reducing family payments: Family payments or copayments -- the monthly amount parents are required to pay to child care providers for the cost of their child care -- will be permanently lowered to $1 per month for families with incomes at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL). 80% of all families will see a reduction in their monthly co-pay.
- Preserving co-pay percentage limits: Family payments will remain permanently capped at 7% of family income, with co-pays for 80% of families falling below that rate.
- Helping families as income grows: Going forward, CCAP families will now remain eligible until the family's income surpasses 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) instead of the current cap of 225%. The income thresholds to be eligible for and to remain on the Child Care Assistance Program have been updated to current FPL and State Median Income (SMI) amounts. Payments will increase from there on a sliding scale based on family income. These improvements allow families more flexibility as people begin to return to work and rebuild from the financial impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
- Increasing reimbursement rates by 3.5% for all CCAP providers to help providers keep their doors open and fully recover from the pandemic.
- Improving predictability for providers: If a child receiving CCAP attends at least 70% of eligible days in a month, providers will be paid for the full month. The previous policy required an 80% attendance rate. This change will allow for more stable payments for providers in the event of occasional absences.