child care

On a new Teachers’ Lounge episode we have Deb Baird. She has ran her own at-home daycare business since 1984.

She talked to host Peter Medlin about her 36 years raising hundreds of kids in her own home. They went into how much it’s changed as she’s gotten older, her focus on nature -- especially monarch butterflies -- and so much more.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

Many school districts are delaying in-person instruction and starting the year remotely. That can present challenges for parents who work during the day and can’t be there to assist with their child’s virtual learning. 

That means many will have to seek out child care options, and those providers are advertising that they can not only provide outdoor activities and crafts, but also help with remote learning.

Spencer Tritt

As the pandemic began to surge, schools closed and most students switched to online learning almost overnight. Schools with less access to technology relied on paper packets, especially for elementary students.

It was more like crisis teaching, like building the plane as you’re flying it. That’s how Lindsay Zelly described sudden changeover. She’s the director of professional learning at the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance. They provide professional development and online resources to teachers.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that about $270 million of Illinois’ share from the federal CARES Act will go towards the Child Care Restoration Grants Program.

The goal of the program is to get child care services up and running as the state reopens so that more people can return to work. Pritzker said feedback from providers intending to apply is an important part of the program's development.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

While most daycare facilities are closed, some in Illinois remain open for families of essential workers.

KinderCare is one of the biggest daycare providers in the country. Around a quarter of its locations are still open across Illinois.

Dee Cottman says the company had to choose locations mostly based on their proximity to hospitals. She’s a district leader for KinderCare and oversees more than a dozen of its facilities in northern Illinois.

state of Illinois live stream

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 899 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 more deaths attributed to the coronavirus as of April 5. That brings the total in Illinois to 274 people who have died and 11,256 who have tested positive.

"Swings" By Flickr User halfrain / (CC X 2.0)

The sponsor of legislation to expand Illinois' child care program says she's hopeful it will happen -- despite Governor Bruce Rauner's recent veto.

Democratic Senator Kim Lightford of Maywood says she'll try to override the veto after November's election.

Lightford wants to increase the amount of money a parent can make to receive a state subsidy for child care.

Her measure would raise the limit to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less than $24,000 a year for a single parent with one child. It would rise in later years.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

Thousands of Illinois families who lost access to state-subsidized child care this summer are once again eligible.

Governor Bruce Rauner rolled back the program drastically in July, which helps low-income working parents afford daycare. Lawmakers were set to reverse the cuts last week, but Rauner agreed to a deal instead.

Senator Toi Hutchinson helped to negotiate with the governor.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is standing by his decision to backtrack on cuts to a low-income daycare program. 

That comes even as Democrats in the Illinois House failed to pass legislation that would have forced Rauner to undo his changes to the state’s Child Care Assistance Program.

The program is meant to help parents out of poverty by subsidizing daycare, so they can work or go to school.

WUIS

Low-income, working parents are once again fighting for help from the state for childcare.

Since July, Illinois drastically reduced who's eligible for the state's daycare assistance program. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made the change, he says, to save money.

For nearly two hours Tuesday at a hearing in Springfield, daycare providers and parents -- like Chante Morrison -- pressed Rauner to cancel the rollbacks.

Morrison is a single mother of two girls from Galesburg.

"I wanna work; my children need to know that you have to work to succeed," Morrison said.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The Illinois House could vote next week on a measure to keep last year’s eligibility guidelines for child care assistance. 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democrat from Peoria, says she plans to call the measure that challenges Governor Bruce Rauner’s move last month to restrict the program. 

“It will undo the rules that Governor Rauner put into place on July 1, which would essentially cut out 90-percent of the current eligible people who are looking to get childcare,” Gordon-Booth said.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

There's been a lot of attention on the effect of the budget shortfall's immediate effect on a state-subsidized day care program in Illinois. But child care providers and parents are also worried about Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed cuts to next year's budget.