Local resource center calls free childcare beneficial

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PEORIA (WEEK) — Parents looking for work can soon get three months of free childcare in Illinois. Governor JB Pritzker made the announcement Monday, as an incentive get people back to work.

Illinois Department of Human Services is expanding elgibility for CCAP or Child Care Assistance Program, to include threee months of free coverage for unemployed parents. If they get a job during those months and still qualify for CCAP, they will get to stay in the program and receive those same benefits for another year.

“It is the lack of childcare that is keeping many many people from getting back into the work force,” said Governor Pritzker.

Governor Pritzker believes this will help fill thousands of jobs now available statewide.

In addition, $300 million will be given to childcare providers and up to $1,000 bonuses for childcare workers.

“I am trying to upgrade our salaries and things like that, but we need funding,” Tri-County Peoria Urban League CEO and President, Dawn Harris Jeffries, PhD.

The Tri-County Peoria Urban League serves as a resource center to help educate, mentor, job hunt, as well as providing childcare for people in need. Harris Jeffries said this money will be a blessing.

“I am trying to upgrade our salaries and things like that, but we need funding,” said Harris Jeffries.

She said they have not had their daycare open in months, due to the pandemic and lack of staffing.

“It means that I can pay my teachers. Maybe just a couple dollars more,” said Harris Jeffries.

Harris Jeffries is hoping this money can help with additional repairs and get them back open by Oct. 1st.

“We’ve got a wonderful daycare, but we’ve gotta upgrade our furniture, upgrade some of the toys the kids play with,” said Harris Jeffries.

She said the three months of childcare is beneficial for parents looking for jobs, but hopes they won’t need it longer as they receive jobs.

Childcare assistance begins Oct. 1st and applications for employers will be available in the coming weeks.

Most of the funding is coming from the federal government.

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