Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Human Services Budget Reductions

Here is a paper that examines state subsidies for day care and the possible situation when these services are cut.

According to the a recent State Journal Register article, Illinois Human Services budget will be cut at least $226 million in the fiscal year of 2011.

According to Governor Quinn’s proposed plan the budget would cut $52 million from services such as subsidized child care for low-income families. Governor Quinn stated the cuts would be from “human capital development”, which is defined as the stock of competences, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. In other words, they will no longer be able to provide low-income families with a discounted rate or free day care expenses, so the 100,000 children statewide that receive state-subsidized child care would decrease in number as services are cut. Community Childcare Connections is the name of the Illinois program that currently has 150,000 children enrolled in the program. The program goal is to provide families with access to quality, affordable child care that allows them to continue working and contributes to the healthy, emotional and social development of the child. Families are required to cost-share on a sliding scale based on family size, income and number of children in care. To be eligible for the program the following criteria must be met; low-income, working families, who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), but are participating in education and/or training, or parents that are not receiving TANF but are attending education and /or training, teen parents seeking high school degree, or equivalent; that are attempting to improve their situation.

Their website http://www.dhs.state.il.us, has a eligibility calculator to determine benefits, for example, if a family of 3 is making less than $800.00 a month, they would be eligible for benefits. The parents’ responsibility of payment for a full 5 day week of daycare over 5 hours a day for 2 children would be $25.78 per month.

The parents of the 150,000 children that are currently receiving services from Community Childcare Connections are about to have another financial crisis to worry about, day care expenses. The typical daycare charges $90 to $125, a week, per child who isn’t considered a toddler or who is not yet school age. The price for care given to newborns up to 2 years old can be as much as $150.00 weekly, and care for school age children ranges from $50.00 to $75.00 a week when school is on session. The above prices are for one child, but some daycares offer discount for more than one child. Let’s consider a 2 year old and a 7 year old in full time Summer daycare when the 7-year-old is out of school; the weekly cost due to the daycare is $200.00 a week, for 2 children. Their parents are both working full time 5 days a week at their minimum wage jobs; so they are bringing home each week after taxes about $218.00, for a total of $436.00 a week. According to the estimated calculator from the website, this family is currently paying around $100 a month for daycare expenses. If this family loses their assisted daycare expenses they will be paying out $200 a week, instead of $100 a month just to be able to go to work. These are the people that are going to be affected by Governor Quinn’s human capital development budget cut. These parents that are trying to improve their situation are going to be to have to choose between employment and daycare. Without the daycare assistance from Community Childcare Connections can this family actually afford to work?

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