CHICAGO — Gov. J. B. Pritzker announced Monday afternoon a new childcare initiative he said would help Illinois families who faced unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is the lack of childcare," Pritzker said during the announcement, "that is keeping many, many people from getting back into the workforce.”
The goal of the initiative was to strengthen access to childcare for parents seeking to reenter the workforce while also aiding childcare providers through giving:
- 3 months of childcare assistance to unemployed parents seeking work, beginning Oct. 1.
- Bonuses of up to $1,000 to eligible childcare workers.
- And $300 million in relief funding to childcare providers.
Pritzker announced the initiative at 2 p.m. from Christopher House's James & Jean Stewart Campus in Chicago. Christopher House, according to its website, is a family of schools that helps children and families succeed in school, the workplace and life through education and family support.
The initiative was the latest in the Pritzker administration's plan to provide affordable childcare to Illinoisans. Since the pandemic began, Illinois has invested more than $700 million in COVID-19 relief funding into the state's childcare industry, according to a state news release.
On July 1, the Illinois Department of Human Services implemented several improvements to the childcare system, including:
- Reducing family payments and copayments.
- Preserving co-pay percentage limits.
- Keeping families eligible for assistance as their income grows.
- Increasing reimbursement rates.
- And improving provider predictability across the system.
See more of the news conference here: