I actually didn’t want to write anything about this because I keep hoping that the funding for the Child Care Assistance Program is going to magically appear from somewhere and all of this will have been a bad dream.
But alas, it has not. As of today, this program has completely run out money… and I mean OUT OF MONEY. Before leaving office, Governor Quinn knew (possibly?) that this day was coming. Some believe that he intentionally did this, knowing that in his next term unfunded childcare, loss of work, and general statewide devastation would provide the necessary arguments for raising taxes.(see Tuesday, February 10, 2015 Chicago Tribune for more details). But he didn’t win the reelection, and the new Governor may or may not find the money to cover this shortfall.
What does this mean for the citizens of Illinois. For those families who receive assistance – they receive this in the form of reduced cost for their childcare needs based on a sliding scale of need – there won’t be assistance anymore. For centers, this means that the state will not pick up the shortfall for every child who qualifies. This might mean centers will close, classrooms will close, parents may lose their jobs, children will no longer have a quality program to attend so their parents can work, and good teachers will lose their jobs.
How are you communicating this potentially devastating situation to your families? How are you and your center handling this?