SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers are proposing a change to the qualifications for state child care assistance, while at the same time eliminating cuts to that program.
The measure approved in the Senate and awaiting a House vote would roll back eligibility levels to 185 percent of the poverty level instead of to the 50 percent level Governor Bruce Rauner changed them to, and would prohibit the Department of Human Services from adopting emergency changes in the future, without legislative approval.
“Changes to a policy like this that would impact so many people, cannot be done singularly with no public input, with no providers or no parents able to say what the impact actually would be if we were to make changes like this,” says State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).
Sessy Nyman with Illinois Action for Children says Rauner’s changes make it virtually impossible for parents to get help raising their children to be successful.
“Yet, we talk about a strong economy,” says Nyman. “We talk about coming out of a budget impasse. We talk about a stronger future. This is not the road that will get us there.”
Hutchinson says even as both sides disagree on a permanent fix to the state budget, she says things that help children should be treated, in her words, “like Switzerland.”
The Illinois House could take up the legislation Wednesday.