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June 24, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois has been named one of the 10 best states for child care by Working Mother magazine for improved oversight of child care providers, enhanced quality and expanded caregiver training.

"Affordable, quality child care is essential to working parents," Ryan said. "We're making child care a top priority because investing in children, the state's most precious resource, is an investment in the future."

Illinois expanded its licensing staff at the Department of Children and Family Services by 40 percent, increasing its capacity to oversee the child-care system. Ryan said Illinois will also increase child-care hours for parents with non-traditional schedules such as evenings and weekends.

DHS is increasing training through the TEACH program, which rewards providers who take child development courses with higher salaries. This year Illinois will spend $26 million, or 10 percent of its federal funds, to enhance quality of child care programs.

"We're very pleased that a national magazine has recognized Illinois for making great strides in child care over the past two years," said Department of Human Services Secretary Howard A. Peters III. "This recognition will hopefully alert Illinois families and working parents to the availability of quality child care in Illinois."

DHS currently provides $477 million for subsidized child care for low-income working parents serving 157,000 children monthly. DCFS licenses 9,471 day care homes, 2,938 day care centers and 240 group day care homes.

"One of the keys to our success is active collaboration with the advocate and provider communities in Illinois," said DCFS Director Jess McDonald. "In the past year, we've made significant improvements in meeting the licensing demands as well as focusing on the quality of care."

Working Mother magazine uses an outside panel of nationally-recognized experts to select its top 10 list for child care. The magazine rates all 50 states for quality, safety, availability and commitment. Illinois received an above average rating, the highest given by the magazine.


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