Governor Pritzker has announced an expansion of financial assistance for child care providers and families. According to the Governor’s Office press release, 80 percent of families receiving assistance will pay less for child care under this expansion.
Beginning July 1, 2021, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will administer the following improvements:
- Reducing family payments: Family payments or copayments—the monthly amount parents are required to pay to child care providers for the cost of their child care—will be permanently lowered to $1 per month for families with incomes at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Eighty percent of all families will see a reduction in their monthly co-pay.
- Preserving co-pay percentage limits: Family payments will remain permanently capped at 7 percent of family income, with co-pays for 80 percent of families falling below that rate.
- Helping families as income grows: Going forward, CCAP families will remain eligible until the family’s income surpasses 250 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), instead of the current cap of 225 percent. The income thresholds to be eligible for and to remain on the Child Care Assistance Program have been updated to the current federal poverty level and state median income (SMI) amounts. Payments will increase from there on a sliding scale based on family income. These improvements allow families more flexibility as people begin to return to work and rebuild from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Increasing reimbursement rates by 3.5 percent for all CCAP providers to help providers keep their doors open and fully recover from the pandemic.
- Improving predictability for providers: If a child receiving CCAP attends at least 70 percent of eligible days in a month, providers will be paid for the full month. The previous policy required an 80 percent attendance rate. This change will allow for more stable payments for providers in the event of occasional absences.
More information about these changes can be found on the IDHS website.