SEIU Healthcare Illinois launches campaign to stop devastating cuts to child care

Hundreds of parents, providers come to Springfield to lobby as union launches ad campaign

Springfield – Hundreds of working parents, child care providers and allies will rally in Springfield today as SEIU Healthcare Illinois—representing more than 30,000 child care providers—launches an advertising campaign calling on the General Assembly to prevent deep cuts to child care services for working parents.

The campaign includes television and radio advertisements, as well as print and web advertising that aims to tell the stories of Illinois families who depend on the Child Care Assistance Program to keep their jobs.The first television ad can be viewed online here:

“I don’t know what I would do without child care assistance. I work two jobs, one full-time and another part-time, and go to school to earn a degree so I canprovide for my family,” said Autumn McCray, who lives in Harvey with her seven-year-old daughter. “It would cost taxpayers much more if thousands of parents like me– who are trying to improve our families’ lives — have to quit their jobs because they can’t afford child care.”

“Child care is a lifeline for Illinois families,” said Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois. “The families who depend on child care assistance are the same families who are struggling to keep their jobs in this tough economy and to protect their homes from foreclosure. These ads are about showing Illinois legislators and voters what is really at stake in this budget and the human cost of cutting critical programs like child care.”

Cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) could mean reduced eligibility and waiting lists, leaving families without access to quality, affordable childcare and forcing many parents out of work. Illinois’ FY11 budget cut $56 million in child care funding, resulting in higher co-payments for parents in CCAP and as many as 15,000 children losing child care assistance. Both the Illinois House and Senate are operating under lower revenue estimates than the governor’s introduced FY12 budget– which could create pressure for drastic cuts to child care assistance.

“My work schedule is always changing. Without child care I couldn’t work nights and weekends, or when my son is on vacation from school—and that means I might lose my job,” said Linda Cloyd, a working mother from Peoria. “If I can’t work, I can’t pay my bills and I’ll lose my home. There’s a lot of worry for parents these days—child care shouldn’t be one of them.”