WATCH: School’s Out Speak Out

Press conference at Penn Elementary in Lawndale, Chicago.

On June 23, our coalition brought together parents, child care providers, local representatives, and community members to highlight the lack of affordable child care options while school is out for the summer and reaffirm the need for Child Care for All. Watch a video of the event or check out this WTTW story about our demands here!

We heard from parents and family members struggling to find affordable child care. “As a grandparent and an advocate, I’ve seen first hand just how the childcare system doesn’t work for Illinois families… My daughter is facing $600 per child just for a summer program. Now that school is out for the summer, parents – my daughter – are scrambling,” said Lisa Russell, a grandparent from South Shore and member of the Illinois Child Care for All Coalition. “We need to fund the child care system in Illinois in order for it to work the way it’s supposed to work.” 

Child care providers also highlighted the need for greater investment in the child care system. “Child care is a career. Child care providers like me care for our community’s children. Every child care provider deserves a living wage, paid sick time, and retirement benefits,” said Claudia Pellecer, an Albany Park home child care provider and SEIU Healthcare Illinois member. “But Illinois’ child care system is severely underfunded. There is a mismatch between the importance of the work that we do, and the low pay. I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and have worked in the field for 14 years, but there is no way to earn more in child care. I’d have to leave the industry entirely… It’s time for Illinois to invest in child care.”

Representative Lakesia Collins (IL-09) shared her own story about the struggle to find affordable child care and pressed for the passage of Child Care for All. “I’m proud to stand with the coalition, with SEIU Healthcare, with child care workers across the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Collins. “We’re partway there. What Governor Pritzker did to expand the CCAP program is a great move in the right direction, but it’s still not enough and we have to do more…If corporations would do the right thing and pay what they owe, then we wouldn’t have to worry about child care providers having to close their doors because they can’t take care of their own families.”

Take action with us this summer and spread the call for Child Care for All!