SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. Pritzker announced a new initiative Monday aimed at making childcare more affordable for those trying to rejoin the workforce.
“If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that we need to make childcare more affordable for everyone,” Pritzker said.
Starting on Oct. 1, any parents on the job hunt, who also qualify for the state’s childhood assistance program, can apply to receive free childcare for three months.
“With this new program, Illinois is allowing more people to look for jobs and return to work without having to worry about where their kids will go during the day,” Gov. Pritzker said. “That’s good for people. That’s good for businesses.”
Pritzker estimates because of the pandemic, there are tens of thousands of families who can benefit from the program, especially women.
“Working mothers have been disproportionately impacted many of whom had to leave their jobs in order to care for their children,” State rep. Eva-Dina Delgado said. “As a result of this pandemic, making it even harder for some of these households to make ends meet.”
The new initiative will also provide bonuses up to $1,000 to anyone who works in a childcare center or home. Childcare providers will be able to apply for grants from a $300 million fund.
Traditionally, families qualify for childcare assistance if they meet the following requirements:
- Have a child (or children) under the age of 13, and
- Are working and meet income requirements, or
- Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and are in education, training, or other work activity approved by your caseworker, or
- Are a teen parent (under age 20) in high school, an alternative high school, or GED program, or
- Are attending education or training activities including ESL, high school equivalence, GED, vocational training, and 2 and 4-year college degree programs.
Now, they can be unemployed and looking for work. To find out if you qualify for three months of free childcare, visit https://www.illinoiscaresforkids.org.