Rockford included in $270M child care grant

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – Joined by child care providers and local officials at the Rock River Valley YMCA Children’s Learning Center Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Rockford will be included in the $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program provided for in the FY21 budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly.

The first program of its kind in the nation, this program will support Illinois’ vast network of childcare providers as they continue to provide care to children across the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Strengthening child care is as much about building a strong economy as it is investing in our young people – both critical aspects of building an Illinois that truly serves our working families,” Pritzker said. “Before this pandemic hit, I promised that Illinois would become the best state in the nation for raising young children. The path forward has certainly become more complicated – but our commitment is stronger than ever.”

The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (CURE) Fund to support the economic health of childcare providers as the state’s economy continues to reopen in the coming weeks and months. As part of CURE, the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Program is specifically designed to support businesses who endure lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Pritzker was joined in Rockford U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, Illinois Rep. Maurice West, Illinois Sen. Steve Stadelman, and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. The governor and Bustos also joined Illinois Rep. Mike Halpin, Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri, and other stakeholders at Skip a Long in Moline to make a similar announcement.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is charged with developing the grant program for licensed childcare providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA).

The “Intent to Apply” survey launched today and is available online here. The information gathered will help to inform the development of the grants program to be released in July and providers will receive their first installments later this summer. The opportunity to respond to the survey closes at 5 p.m., June 19.

The state has made significant investments in its vast childcare network during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as implementing a simple waiver process to allow providers to be paid for all of their enrolled children in the Child Care Assistance Program for March through June, so that child care staff could continue to be paid as normal through this unprecedented period. The state also increased the CCAP money that emergency center providers receive for each child.

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