Protesters fear loss of day-care assistance for low income families

  • Victor Valencia, 14, of Elgin protested at the Illinois Capitol Thursday. He says if a state program that helps low-income parents pay for day care doesn't get more money, his family will struggle.

      Victor Valencia, 14, of Elgin protested at the Illinois Capitol Thursday. He says if a state program that helps low-income parents pay for day care doesn't get more money, his family will struggle. Erin Hegarty | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/20/2015 9:44 AM

Elgin's Ivy Academy of Early Learning joined people from across the state at a Springfield rally Thursday to ask the state to rescue a program that helps low-income parents pay for child care.

The program has run out of state money. Gov. Bruce Rauner and top lawmakers are negotiating in private how to find $300 million to keep it afloat until July 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The program lets day cares offer qualifying families deeply discounted rates. Because state payments to those day cares will soon be delayed, child care workers are considering asking parents to pay the full price in the meantime.

"Out of the 127 children that we serve, 123 are affected by this," said Amy Hitchinson, CEO of Ivy Academy.

Delivering his budget proposal Wednesday, Rauner acknowledged the day care funding crisis, among other funding issues.

He said a solution is on the way.

"It appears that we are very close, literally days away, from a resolution. And every day counts," Rauner said.

The day care crisis is one of a few facing Illinois' finances immediately.

The state also won't have money to make payroll at some state prisons soon, and money to pay for court reporters at trials across Illinois is set to run out in the spring, too.

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