State's budget crisis impacts daycare centers

May 2, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Under federal law, the state's child care program and temporary assistance for families are paid out of the same fund and because of an increase in cases Januari Smith Trader, a spokesperson for Department of Human Services, says, "there is not enough money in our budget to pay for child care services for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2012."

Smith Trader says the General Assembly can prevent this funding shortfall by providing more money. But she says, "the sooner they act the better, as fragile child care providers will be under enormous pressure to meet payroll between now and July 1."

Concerned parents expressed anger Wednesday evening after learning the daycare centers where they take their children could soon close.

"If they are not providing child care, I can't work. That means I will lose my house, I will lose my job and my child will not be educated," said parent Porche Cooper. "I don't know what I would do without them. I would lose everything."

Betty Young, owner of Grandma Jones Daycare in Calumet City, says she was notified Tuesday that her center will not be paid for April, May and June. She owns two daycare centers and says without the funds she will not be able to pay her rent or employees.

The dozens of parents ABC7 talked to say they're now trying to figure out alternative care for their children.

"We have to find somewhere else where to go," said parent Apollo Jones. "We have about a month to go. Maybe a family member. It's not fair."

The Department of Human Services says lawmakers are looking for ways to solve the problem.

ABC7 talked with state comptroller Judy Barr Topinka and she says her office has no jurisdiction on this matter, but if money becomes available from the General Assembly, Topinka says she will see that payments be made immediately to day care providers.

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