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Illinois child care assistance expanding

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:04 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Illinois is working to make sure more parents have access to child care.

West Central Child Care Connection executive director Marla Willard said child care assistance will soon be available to families with an income 225% above the federal poverty level. She said the state is continuing to offer grants and subsidies offered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was difficult for some programs to stay open because people weren’t going right back to work and so the government did step in, and the state did step in with a lot of really great grants to help childcare programs stay open to pay their bills, pay their staff,” Willard said.

She said with inflation causing prices to rise, the grants will help local child care programs. She said many parents are looking for childcare, but because demand has gone up many parents find themselves on waiting lists.

Willard said there is a shortage of childcare workers in the area, which can affect how many children a child care center can take in due to the required worker-child ratio. She said reimbursement increases for child care centers could help solve that problem.

“Parents who are low income or families who are eligible for the program are not able to find spots in quality childcare programs, so because the state is doing this kind of reimbursement, that makes it more of a level playing field for those parents who could not otherwise afford maybe a licensed program,” Willard said.

To inquire about child care and check your availability, you can contact the West Central Child Care Connection at (217) 222-2550 or their website.

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