Rauner child care cuts stay even if budget agreement reached

SPRINGFIELD — Under new eligibility rules put in place by Gov. Bruce Rauner effective July 1, an estimated 90 percent of new applicants for the state’s Child Care Assistance Programs will not qualify for services. These are families who previously would have received the subsidy under the old guidelines.

There are about 100,000 families in Illinois participating in the program covering about 168,000 children, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The program allows low-income parents to continue working, rather than rely entirely on public assistance.

Even if the Legislature were to enact a fully funded budget that the governor would sign, the stricter eligibility rules enacted by Rauner would remain in effect unless withdrawn.

Advocates say it appears to be more of a philosophical switch by the Rauner administration toward dismantling the child care subsidy program.

Most of those being excluded from the program are falling victim to new income eligibility guidelines that slash the amount of money that an applicant can earn.

Some of that is already happening, but the big impact will come in a few weeks when those in preschool programs will cycle into kindergarten and no one will be allowed to take their place.