By Chicago Defender
SPRINGFIELD/CHICAGO – Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced expanded eligibility and affordability for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), taking effect today, October 1st.
Families with income of 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or lower will now be able to receive child care assistance through CCAP, increased from previous eligibility set at 185% FPL.
The program also now allows families whose income increases up to 225 percent FPL to remain in the program if they previously qualified at 200 percent FPL or lower. This means a family of three could earn up to $42,660 ($3,555/month) at their initial application and remain eligible for assistance even if their income increases to $48,000 ($4,000/month).
“Early childhood care provides a foundation for our children and families to succeed and expanding access to quality care is a core priority for my administration,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’ve been committed to improving early childhood education and care for decades, and am so proud to increase our investment in this program to ensure more families can afford the quality care our children deserve.”
“Making child care more accessible gives working families, college students and teen parents an opportunity to continue pursuing their career goals without having to worry about having a safe place for their children to stay,” Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford said. “I am thankful for Governor Pritzker’s work in increasing eligibility for this program and look forward to the impact it will have on families across Illinois.”
Families will also have a three-month, graduated phase-out if their income increases above the 225% FPL “exit-level.” This means if a family of three’s income exceeds $48,000 (but stays under $63,840), they would still receive 90 days of subsidized child care.
“It’s so important that families know they have options for safe and affordable child care. Families who previously applied and were denied should revisit our website and check their eligibility again. Reliable child care is necessary for working families, students and young parents, and we want to make it easier for them,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou.
In addition to eligibility changes, IDHS has been working to promote the Child Care Assistance Program and encourage participation. In August 2019, 131,766 children were enrolled in CCAP, which is the highest enrollment number of the last three fiscal years. Since January 2019, CCAP enrollment has increased by 14,801 children.
The Child Care Assistance Program recently launched a Facebook page and posts program updates and promotional information about CCAP frequently. You can find the CCAP Facebook at facebook.com/IllinoisCCAP.
An easy-to-use Child Care Assistance Program Eligibility Calculator to help families determine their eligibility is available now on the IDHS website.
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender.