Older Children May Lose Day Care Funding

Mar 23, 2015

Credit Tennessee Department of Human Services

Gaps in the current year's budget mean that the state has stopped paying for its Child Care Assistance Program, and day care providers are worried about more issues in the future.

The program that provides assistance for parents to pay for child care could experience more financial problems if Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposals become next year's budget.

Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, says cutting government assistance to day care has negative consequences in other areas.

"Investment here really reaps huge benefits down the road. I think it's very short-sighted to think that trying to make cuts here is going to really save the state of Illinois anything meaningful, in fact it's going to really go the other way, all the data suggests," Steans said.

Gregory Bassi, the acting secretary for the Department of Human Services, says the cuts are necessary to have a balanced budget.

"There will be less services for child care for next year," he said. "I'm not going to sit up here and tell you that there's going to be the same level of services. But we took pains to try to do it by priority."

Right now the state, along with federal funds, helps pay for child care for children 12 and under. Rauner suggests changing the program to no longer accept any new child into the program over the age of five.

DHS says more than 180,000 children receive assistance each month, and about 40 percent of them are between six and 12 years old.