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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2001

Governor and First Lady Award Grant Money to Benefit Child Care Providers - Focus on low income areas of Chicago

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today announced that a $380,000 grant is being awarded to the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) in Chicago. The WBDC will use the funds to establish a Child Care Revolving Loan Fund to provide financial assistance to child care providers who need capital for start up or expansion. The assistance will be targeted to low income areas of Chicago.

"These funds are going to help put more child care centers into low income neighborhoods providing quality care for children along with valuable jobs for the communities," said Governor Ryan. "This grant will also support several of our Illinois Workforce Advantage communities which are striving to improve their social services."

The loans will be available throughout Chicagoland with a special focus in the City of Chicago Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community area and the Workforce Advantage communities of Harvey, Englewood and Humboldt Park.

The Illinois Workforce Advantage is a multi-faceted program designed to enrich and strengthen social services and programs that help individuals, families and neighborhoods become more self-sufficient. The grant is being awarded through the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) which is administered by the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA).

"One of the leading barriers facing businesses is having an available workforce, and one of the greatest issues facing the workforce is the availability of quality child care," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "With this loan fund we can work to improve access to quality child care, which in turn improves the job opportunities for individuals, and enhances the economic viability of the entire community."

The loans will range from $500 to $25,000. In addition to loan assistance, the WBDC will provide comprehensive pre- and post-loan technical assistance.

"I am pleased to announce the creation of the Child Care Revolving Loan through the Women's Business Development Center in Chicago," said Mrs. Ryan. "Voices for Illinois Children has a saying: 'Learning begins at birth,' and this announcement is part of our continuing effort to create learning opportunities for our youngest children."

The announcement was made at the 11th Annual Kids Count Awards Dinner hosted by Voices for Illinois Children. At the event, Mrs. Ryan received a Kids Count Award for her efforts with Futures for Kids, the Charter for Illinois Children and her involvement in increasing awareness in children and family issues.

Because of her dedication to children, Governor Ryan named Mrs. Ryan chair of his Futures for Kids initiative. As an umbrella for children's programs and policies in Illinois, Futures for Kids is designed to significantly reduce juvenile delinquency, substance abuse and violence among Illinois young people. There are four key components to the program: early intervention; family and community involvement; school success; and safe neighborhoods.

Under the Ryan administration, funding has been provided through Futures for Kids for youth oriented programs like the Teen REACH after-school program, which received an increase of 41 percent to nearly $20 million. The Great START teacher training program, aimed at maintaining continuous employment for caregivers received a 66 percent increase expanding the programs participation to 5,000 caregivers. Healthy Families in Illinois funding grew from $1.75 million in Fiscal Year 1999 to $11.4 million in Fiscal Year 2002 serving 5,000 families.

Futures for Kids also oversees programs for juvenile justice, youth substance abuse treatment, tobacco prevention, and other programs affecting youth and their families.


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