I wanted to let you know that the Senate made progress last week in finding a solution for the childcare crisis that has already disrupted too many lives.

Senate Democrats identified more than a half billion dollars that’s not currently being used that could be shifted to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) in order to keep centers open and providing services to working parents. A Senate committee approved the funding proposal last week, advancing it on to the full Senate.

State funding for the Child Care Assistance Program recently ran out, forcing centers to close and sending parents scrambling for options and alternatives. The program was created to help working parents improve themselves and the lives of their children. It has been a tremendous success and must continue.

I’m hoping we can set politics aside at the Capitol and get this solution to the governor’s desk before any more families are affected.

The proposed funding solution is in Senate Bill 274. I will keep you updated on its progress.

If you have questions or comments about the situation, please contact me through my website or at 773-278-2020.

I also urge you to contact the governor’s office at 312-814-2121 or 217-782-0244 to voice your opinions.

Category: In The News

minority youth empl1Immediately following today’s State of the State address, State Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16) and Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20) stood with a group of their House and Senate colleagues to highlight the urgent need for youth employment programs stripped of state funding last week. The legislators, members of the House and Senate Black and Latino Caucuses, challenged the governor to square his actions with his rhetoric.

“In today’s speech, we heard about opportunities for disadvantaged communities,” Collins said. “But what we’ve seen so far is those opportunities denied. Let’s move beyond rhetoric to solutions.”

“Youth and after school programs are critically important for keeping young Latinos healthy and safe, and I am committed to ensuring that these programs are funded in the future,” Martinez said. “The governor ran on a platform of making Illinois a more ‘competitive and compassionate’ state, but his administration’s decision to rescind grants for youth programs is troubling and inconsistent with his campaign’s theme.”

More than 30 Chicago-area agencies providing youth employment and afterschool programming were informed last week that they were no longer allowed to spend state funds they were awarded in December as part of the Department of Human Services’ Youth Development Grant program. Their state contracts took effect January 1. The decision froze nearly $8 million in funds that had already been budgeted for afterschool and summer programs, mentoring, job training and job opportunities for young people, particularly in low-income and high-crime neighborhoods.

“You tell us you want Illinois to become the most competitive and compassionate state in the nation,” said Collins, who also invited Rauner to visit her district and view the impact of his decision. “We are asking you – where is the compassion? And without mentoring, job training and a chance to work, how can the next generation of low-income minority youth hope to compete?”

Category: In The News

In response to new measles cases being diagnosed in Illinois, I am urging you to understand the risks and how to prevent the virus.

Measles was a deadly killer until a vaccination became publicly available in 1964. Since that time, cases of the measles have dropped by 99 percent in the United States. The disease has not been entirely eradicated, however, and a large outbreak occurred from 1989 to 1991.

Prevention remains the best way to avoid contracting the measles virus. The current vaccination combats against measles, mumps and rubella.

Infection can come from being in the same room as an individual infected with the virus. Fortunately, the vast majority of Illinois students are required by law to receive an MMR vaccination prior to entering school.

As your state senator, it is my job to ensure that you receive information about public health issues. If you are concerned or someone you know has contracted the measles virus, please call your health care provider and contact your local health department. Learn more at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/.

Category: In The News

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides low-income, working families with access to child care that allows them to continue working and contributes to the development of children.

Sadly, CCAP, which serves about 195,000 children and is only available to low-income parents who work or are enrolled in school, is currently facing a $300 million shortfall. Failure to fill this gap will force parents to quit their jobs or put their education on hold. Additionally, it will increase reliance on other forms of government assistance and prevent children from having access to educational opportunities.

A Senate hearing took place last week to discuss the underfunding of CCAP and the impact it is having on families and child care providers. We heard powerful testimony from CCAP recipients. One mother was able to earn an associate’s degree while her son attended a high-quality preschool; another works four jobs to provide for her family and fears being unemployed and homeless if CCAP is cut. Furthermore, we learned that many child care centers and in-home providers will be forced to close their doors or reduce services if state funding is not restored.

I am a strong supporter of CCAP and other social programs that have proven to be successful. Losing child care can create a crisis for families, and I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to address this issue. However, I am disappointed in the lack of urgency shown by Gov. Rauner’s administration regarding child care assistance. Gov. Rauner ran on a platform of making Illinois a more “compassionate and competitive” state, yet his administration has failed to provide the public with a good explanation of how it will keep low-income workers with children on the job. I would like to see available funding moved to CCAP immediately.

Please feel free to contact me through my website or at 773-278-2020 regarding CCAP or any other issue. I also urge you to contact the governor’s office at 312-814-2121 or 217-782-0244 to voice your concerns.

Category: In The News

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