State expands, extends pandemic child care benefits

Pandemic relief programs for child care providers and needy families will extend to year end, with some lasting into 2023.

SHARE State expands, extends pandemic child care benefits
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced he was extending grant programs for child care providers and expanding eligibility to subsidy programs for workers who need assistance.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced he was extending grant programs for child care providers and expanding eligibility to subsidy programs for workers who need assistance.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file photo

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state will boost spending on child care assistance, extending several grant programs that began during the COVID pandemic and expanding eligibility for assistance for working parents.

The state will boost the rate at which it reimburses child care providers for services through the Child Care Assistance Program by nearly 10% starting in July, and will increase the amount families can earn and still be eligible for subsidized child care through the program, Pritzker said a news conference Monday at a child care center in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood.

A family of four making up to 225% of the income level at the “poverty line” of $27,750 would be eligible for state help with child care costs, a move that increases the threshold from 180% and could increase the number of children eligible for subsidized care by as many as 20,000.

The reimbursement rate increases — and a program that will cut the cost of child care for families that include a child care worker to a $1 co-pay — will boost retention rates in the low-wage field, Pritzker said.

“Child care doesn’t work without its workforce, and Illinois’ child care system is only as strong as its support for and investment in child care workers across the state,” said Bethany Patten, associate director of the state Department of Human Services’ Division of Early Childhood Office of Programs.

The program had been funded with federal COVID relief dollars, but a spokesman for the state Department of Health Services did not immediately respond to a query about where the money to fund the expanded services would come from.

The Latest
Morel hit a two-run homer in the victory against the Reds on Wednesday after Cubs manager David Ross moved him to the bottom of the batting order.
It’s unclear if Griffin will continue his heavy spending in Illinois politics after he and his Citadel hedge fund have packed up and left for Miami. But what was obvious was that his latest big bet on elections in this state was a big failure, up and down the ballot.
Rubber game of series “important for us going into the day off, going to San Francisco,” manager Tony La Russa said.
The brothers, all under the age of 12, were stuck in a basement apartment Sunday as it went up in flames.