Two bills sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) to increase stability for the thousands of Illinois families who rely on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) were signed into law on Friday, Aug. 17.
House Bill 4965, brings Illinois in line with federal law by moving to a 12-month redetermination process for CCAP families starting Oct. 1. The current system calls for redetermining eligibility every six months.
“Working families must have certainty that child care access will be available past an arbitrary six-month deadline,” Hutchinson said. “Increasing the eligibility period to 12 months brings that certainty to families who are doing exactly what we tell them they are supposed to be doing, which is waking up every morning and going to work or school.”
Illinois Action for Children estimates the state will receive an additional $82.8 million in federal child care funding by moving to a 12-month redetermination process.
Hutchinson also co-sponsored House Bill 5599 that maintains current eligibility requirements for CCAP. The plan, which took effect on Aug. 17, protects CCAP from drastic cuts at the whim of the governor.
The new law will prevent future attempts to decimate the program, Hutchinson said, pointing to what took place in 2015 under Gov. Bruce Rauner, who unilaterally reduced eligibility for 90 percent of CCAP participants.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle decried the move.
“Nearly three years later, CCAP is still recovering from the governor’s cuts,” Hutchinson said. “The gutting of this once-hailed program has had lasting impact on child care centers and families across Illinois. We must continue to do everything we can to instill trust between our child care providers and families.”