Child Care Providers and Parents Applaud State Emergency Funding, But Vow to Fight Deep Cuts in Next Year’s Budget

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Child Care Providers and Parents Applaud State Emergency Funding, But Vow to Fight Deep Cuts in Next Year’s Budget

SEIU’s Child Care Providers and Parents Mobilized On Massive Scale to Win Emergency Funding After State Said It Ran Out of Money to Pay Providers Until July 1st

(May 18, 2012, Springfield, IL) – Illinois took a crucial first step toward preventing a surge in unemployment Friday when legislators passed a supplemental spending bill to plug a $73 million shortage in funding for child care providers around the state. But SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, which represents over 35,000 home-based child care providers, warned that working parents continue to face threats to their job security unless lawmakers restore $85 million in cuts to child care funding included in Gov. Pat Quinn’s FY 2013 budget.

Child care providers and parents called such budget cuts “completely unacceptable” and said that slashing vital assistance would devastate working parents, especially single moms who are trying to go to school and work to support their families.

“We applaud lawmakers for sparing child care providers and the parents who rely on these vital programs from a potentially crippling three-month delay in payments this year,” said Keith Kelleher, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana.  “We must fully fund the child care system in Illinois and keep working families on the job and in school where they can contribute to our economic growth.”

The state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) supports more than 85,000 working families and 160,000 children.  CCAP is intended to promote employment in Illinois by providing working families with resources that they need to hold down a job or finish school.   If the state cuts CCAP, it will fuel joblessness among people who are willing and able to work.

“Working parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their child care providers won’t immediately shutdown.  But we must be vigilant because our programs are still at risk of being slashed in the Governor’s budget,” said Annie Yarbary, a home-based child care provider in Decatur. “These cuts could result in working parents, and especially single moms, being unable to go back to school and who are desperately trying to improve their lives.  This is why we are fighting for those without a voice. ”

“Our state should not be slashing early education programs for our children that teach and empower them for future success.  It’s not right, and it’s not fair,” said Angela Bradley, a child care provider in Danville.  “Our state has a revenue crisis and our children are being hurt because corporations and the rich in Illinois don’t pay their fair share of the tax burden to invest in our children’s future.”

Providers said that state cutbacks are also incredibly shortsighted.  Child care programs help parents work, contribute to the economy, and are key investments in children’s education.  These investments save taxpayers money by reducing special education, remediation and juvenile justice costs in the long term.

“Cutting child care assistance will devastate the parents and the children of Illinois, and cost the taxpayers more money in the long run,” said Faith Arnold, a child care provider in Bellwood, outside of Chicago.  “Times are already hard for the families that we care for and support – they have few choices as it is. Our politicians are neglecting their responsibilities when they refuse to tax the rich in order to fund child care programs that will give children early learning opportunities to strengthen their education.”

SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana unites more than 91,000 healthcare, home care, nursing home and child care workers across two states in the fight to raise standards across industries, to strengthen the political voice for working families and for access to quality, affordable care for all families.