Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou have announced a program that will aim to give parents three months of free child care as they search for new employment.
Under the program, IDHS will expand eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which gives three months of free coverage for unemployed parents who are seeking employment.
Beginning Oct. 1, parents who are unemployed and actively seeking employment will be eligible for three months of assistance. If parents become employed or enroll in an education program within that three-month period, they will remain eligible for CCAP coverage for up to 12 months, according to a press release.
“There are so many jobs that are available today. And there are many people who want to get back to work, and we need to sort of put those two together and make sure that people are able to get back to work,” Pritzker said during a Monday press conference. “Many parents who were staying home to take care of their child. There are tens of thousands of fewer parents who have been able to get childcare, so that’s why we’re expanding the capacity for people to get it.”
Parents interested in applying for the program can learn more information and submit applications through a state-run website. Parents can also call 1-877-202-4453.
The administration will also provide bonuses of up to $1,000 for eligible child care workers. Bonuses will be followed by additional grants in the future, with up to $300 million being made available to providers across the state.
All staff at licensed and license-exempt child care centers and homes will be eligible to receive up to a $1,000 bonus. Health and safety requirements, as well as licensing requirements, do apply. The payment will be made between Oct. 2021 and March 2022.