day care centerYWCA Lake County is one of the thousands of organizations across Illinois that is struggling to stay afloat because of the state’s budget impasse. YWCA is an invaluable asset to Lake County. They provide training and certifications for child care providers, offer continuing education courses for providers, give child care referrals to county residents, operate three YWCA child care sites, and process all of the child care assistance payments that are used at child care centers across the county.
 
Fifty percent of YWCA’s funding comes from the state of Illinois. YWCA has been providing services based on an agreement made with the state. YWCA held up their end of the deal and started offering services in July, but the state has not paid them the amount promised. In the eight months since July, YWCA has received three payments. Right now, the state of Illinois owes YWCA $150,000. Since YWCA isn’t receiving the money promised from the state, they have been forced to use over $200,000 of their reserves in order to keep their doors open. 

“We are not asking for anything additional from the state.  We are just asking for the funds YWCA was promised so that we can pay for the services that have already been provided,” YWCA Lake County CEO Treopia Cannon said. “YWCA held up its end of the deal. Now it’s time for the state to pay YWCA the money owed.”
 
If the budget impasse is not resolved, YWCA could be forced to shut down in the future. This would affect over 30 YWCA employees, 974 Lake County child care providers, 3,100+ Lake County families, and 6,000+ Lake County children who would not have access to high quality child care.  
 
“If the state doesn’t pass a budget, YWCA Lake County and the 53,000 child care facilities across the state could be in jeopardy of layoffs, reduced hours, and ultimately some may be forced to shut down,” Cannon said. “This could have the ripple effect of forcing 146,000 working parents into unemployment and 254,000 children out of safe early childhood programs.”
 
YWCA Lake County has been providing services with good faith that the state would hold up its end of the bargain and pay the amount to which they agreed. The state approved each payment, but because there is no state budget, the funds cannot be released to YWCA. This cannot continue. The budget impasse is having a real impact on organizations across the state. Organizations are barely able to keep operating because they don’t know if or when they will receive funds from the state. It’s time for the governor and legislators from both parties to come together and pass a budget compromise.

 

Photo Credit: Ricky Brigante

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