SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou announced a series of nation-leading investments to strengthen access to childcare for parents seeking to reenter the workforce while helping childcare providers and their employees at the same time.
IDHS is expanding the Child Care Assistance Program eligibility to include three months of free coverage for unemployed parents who meet CCAP eligibility requirements to help Illinoisans get back to work.
The Pritzker administration is also providing bonuses of up to $1,000 for eligible childcare workers — followed by two more rounds of childcare restoration grants plus an additional phase of grants in 2022, with $300 million to be made available to providers across the state.
This comes after Pritzker announced copays for CCAP would decrease for 80 percent of families who participate in the program. Families who meet certain income eligibility requirements — income below 100 percent of the federal poverty level — have seen their monthly copays reduced to $1.
Beginning October 1, 2021, 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. 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 at https://www.inccrra.org/about/sdasearch 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 (INCCRRA) in the coming weeks. Employers are required to pay staff 100% of the bonus amount awarded by the state.
The Pritzker administration will also launch a final round of 2021 Child Care Restoration Grants and later this year will open applications for 2022 Stabilization Grants. The Child Care Restoration Grants administered through IDHS continue to offer childcare providers access to funds that can help counterbalance losses due to COVID-19 and take advanced steps to rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic.
The program has been in place since 2020, when it provided $290 million to small businesses and childcare providers across the state. $270 million in additional funds have been invested in providers, to date, in 2021.
The post Gov. Pritzker announces childcare investments for parents, providers in COVID-19 recovery appeared first on WEEK.