Child Care Program shortfall raises concern
Inadequate funding of the state’s Child Care Program in the current fiscal year budget signed by former Governor Pat Quinn will lead to delays in payments in child care services. Under the current budget, the Child Care Program administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) has less than one-half of the funding needed to fully operate the program as it is currently structured.
Quinn’s underfunding of the program has child care providers wondering when they will receive payment. Unless the General Assembly approves legislation giving Governor Rauner authority to approve additional spending for this program, DHS has warned child care providers their payments will be delayed and only include Federal funds.
The Rauner administration has underscored this shortfall is in no way related to Rauner’s Executive Order to address the fiscal crisis, explaining Governor Quinn deliberately moved forward with a budget that he knew did not contain the revenue needed to fully fund the program. Additionally, DHS was directed by the Quinn administration to run the program under status quo parameters, even though the administration was aware that doing so would create a funding shortfall during the second half of the fiscal year. The problem is compounded by years of program mismanagement by the Quinn administration, which has resulted in drastically increasing costs.
Governor Rauner’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) is currently working diligently with the legislature to identify a way to rectify the problem as quickly as possible.