Childcare assistance more difficult in Illinois - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Childcare assistance more difficult in Illinois

Children at Cheerful Home eat lunch on Tuesday. Children at Cheerful Home eat lunch on Tuesday.

A lot of families won't qualify for childcare assistance in Illinois under new requirements that went into effect in July.

West Central Child Care Connection Program Coordinator Holly Prisner says the Illinois Childcare Assistance Program is under an emergency rule by the Illinois governor. The qualifications have been changed due to the unbalanced Illinois budget.

Prisner says families previously had to be at 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Now, Prisner says the cap is 50 percent of the federal poverty level. She says before, a family of two with a monthly income of $2,456 qualified for childcare assistance. Now, a family of two must make less than $664 a month to qualify.

Prisner says all families can still apply, but the news might not be so great.

"They can apply, but they'll probably get a denial," Prisner said. "Until this budget comes through. Until we know we have money, we will not be able to approve those working families."

There's concern at Cheerful Home over new requirements for the CCAP. Business Manager Amanda Selsor says Cheerful Home will feel the burden.

"More families are loosing that state assistance and going on to the sliding fee scale," Selsor said. "Their fees are slightly higher. And it's also a bigger burden on Cheerful Home because we are the ones subsidizing the sliding fee scale."

The Governor's office says structural changes are needed within state government to free up resources to help the most vulnerable and grow the economy.

Caywood's Youth Center assistant teacher and mother of one, Britney Malone, is grandfathered in with the current CCAP guidelines. Under the new requirements, she would not qualify. 

"Without it, I'd be paying about $138 a week," Malone said. "And with what I make, there's no way I'd be able to afford to send him to daycare."

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