Proposed House Bill Stabilizes Child Care in Illinois

Proposed legislation will help secure funding for Child Care Assistance in Illinois

HB 5599 moves out of Committee, prevents families from losing subsidy eligibility 

By Gagan Bal | MSV | April 2018

During the budget crisis of 2015, the Illinois Governor’s office issued emergency orders which temporarily lowered income eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Prior to the emergency order, families could earn up to 185% of the Federal Poverty Line and still qualify. But for a 5-month period, caregivers could earn no more than 50% of the Federal Poverty Line, or just under $9,000 annually.

Over 90% of the families enrolled with Marillac St. Vincent Family Services (MSV) are CCAP eligible families. The program allows low-wage caregivers to provide for their families, with the peace of mind that their children will be in a safe and loving environment.

This CCAP funding cut had devastating effects on families in Illinois. A single parent working a full time job, earning the minimum wage was no longer eligible for subsidized childcare. Moreover, many parents that were full time students earning their degrees were considered ineligible for CCAP; forcing them to stop attaining their degree to look after their children. Finally, many child care centers contracted by the state to provide child care services were forced to close their doors due to a lack of enrollment.

In late 2016, after a full year of cuts, the CCAP eligibility requirements were brought back to pre-crisis maximums. However, the program still feels the effects of that cut today. Many families that were ruled ineligible during the funding cut have not reapplied since, resulting in CCAP serving only a fraction of the people it once did.

After experiencing the effects of the funding cuts first hand, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services is supporting a new bill (HB 5599) sponsored by Illinois 10th District Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin. The measure would add a statute to state law which codifies CCAP eligibility for incomes as high as 185% of the federal poverty level, a percentage that many US states have met or surpassed in recent years.

This bill was presented in a hearing with the Appropriations-Human Services Committee on April 5th. Chief Operating Officer, Maureen Hallagan testified to the Committee on behalf of MSV saying, “These are families that are doing everything that is being asked of them. They are working, they are prioritizing their children’s education, they are paying taxes, and they were the ones hit the hardest by these devastating cuts.”

Marillac St. Vincent staff, community partners, and Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin advocating for HB 5599 bill at State of Illinois building in Chicago on April 5. 

Prior to the vote, Communications Director Stephen Barker spoke at a press conference with Representative Conyears-Ervin saying, “I urge lawmakers to push this bill through so that families will never again be held hostage in Springfield budget debates.” 

After deliberations, the bill passed out of committee with a 10-1 vote and will move to the full House later this year.

For HB 5599 to pass we need your full support. You can help us by contacting your local representatives and advocating for HB 5599. You can find who your local representatives are by clicking on the link below.



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