Study: Family child care providers in rural Illinois have less federal food dollars than their urban counterparts

SPRINGFIELD – Family child care providers in rural Illinois have less federal food money to spend than do their urban counterparts.

University of Illinois Chicago professor Rachel Gordon co-authored a study for UI’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs and says a “tiered” system in the mid-nineties followed the discovery that it was not just low-income kids benefiting.

“The lower rate, if a provider had five children in their care for five days a week, they’d have about $85-90 to spend on breakfast, lunch, and a snack,” Gordon said. “At the higher rate, the provider with that same configuration would get $150-160.”

Gordon, whose field is sociology, says part of the problem is – failure to communicate.

She says the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) “is administered through USDA and runs through the State Board of Education in Illinois, whereas general child care subsidies run through the Department of Human Services in the state and are administered by similar agencies at the federal level.

“And that means those two programs are not talking to each other.”

One recommendation is that children have automatic eligibility for the food program if they are eligible for the general child care subsidy.

Gordon says the study examined Chicago as well as counties surrounding Champaign-Urbana.

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