By Ireta Gasner, Assistant Director of Illinois Policy
We are very disappointed that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), in a rare partisan vote, failed to suspend the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Child Care Assistance Program emergency rule change today. Unfortunately for low-income, working families, politics trumped the welfare of our state. We agree with Rep. Greg Harris that this rule change “is not looking out for the public safety and welfare, this is the opposite of that.”
The emergency rule changing eligibility requirements enacted by DHS is not justified by an imminent threat to the health, safety and welfare of Illinois citizens, and is crippling our early childhood education system throughout the state. The impact of these rules is far-reaching and extends deep into our communities. As working families are faced with the difficult decision to leave their jobs because they cannot find safe, affordable care for their children, businesses will lose employees, day care providers will close and children will lose out on the high-quality early experiences they need to put them on the path to success in school and in life.
The eligibility requirement changes could not have come at a worse time for families and child care providers. As families are trying to enter child care programs in the new school year, they are finding themselves locked out of the system. High-quality early childhood education providers are likewise struggling to fill openings as young children transition out of their programs into kindergarten, as the rule changes effectively deny 90% of families who would previously have been eligible.
As Sen. Don Harmon stated, “these rules don’t respond to a real emergency, but will create real emergencies across the state.”
We will continue to pursue all avenues to rescind this harmful rule, as well as vigorously advocate against the proposed permanent rule change that mirrors these measures.
About the Ounce of Prevention Fund
The Ounce of Prevention Fund is a private-public partnership dedicated to providing all children – especially those from low income families – with high-quality early childhood experiences from birth to age 5. The Ounce aims to be the nation’s trusted source for early childhood research and program models that focus on the physical, social and emotional development of children from birth to age five. To give children and families most in-need the best chance for success, the Ounce develops programs, conducts research, trains educators and strongly advocates for early childhood education. Our early childhood programs, such as Educare, have created national models of high-quality early childhood education, ensuring that more children have access to opportunities best suited for their future success.