Statement from Illinois Action for Children on Child Care in IL During COVID-19
As an organization on the front lines of early care and education every day, Illinois Action for Children understands how critically-important child care and child care providers are to our state. They are, in many ways, the lifeblood of the economy. We strongly believe that during this pandemic, however, the best and safest place for children to be is at home or with their relatives. Our state cannot recover if children and their families are not healthy and safe.
When COVID-19 began to spread in Illinois the Governor closed all child care effectively immediately, correctly citing the danger to providers, children, and their families if COVID-19 was able to spread unmitigated throughout the child care system and into communities in every corner of the state.
A new emergency child care system for Illinois’ essential workers was created in a matter of days. More than 2,500 child care centers and homes have enrolled in this program and are continuing to be paid by the state in full for the children they are currently caring for as well as for the slots that have been left vacant to ensure a safe care environment.
As Illinois continues to flatten the curve and move toward Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach To Safely Reopen Our State plan, the reopening of child care must take place under the same science-based approach. The Governor has created a task force that will incorporate the input and voices of providers throughout all of the state to determine the safest approaches for reopening child care as we move through the phases of reopening Illinois.
We recognize the economic and financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic is causing businesses throughout Illinois. The challenge, however, is that an attempt to return to full operations of child care without effective treatments or a vaccine will result in a dangerous and potentially deadly spread of COVID-19 in our state.
Illinois Action for Children stands with the Governor’s science-based approach and will continue to work closely with his administration to identify ways that providers can be assisted throughout this crisis. We also support the Governor’s calling of the Illinois House and Senate back to work to pass legislation that would support small businesses like child care. IAFC has also joined our many partners to strongly advocate for at least $50 billion in the next federal relief package to help ensure the financial stability of child care providers throughout our state.
We must do everything in our power as a state to ensure we have a safe child care system that is ready when Illinois’ workers return to work.
President and CEO
Illinois Action for Children