childcare picAs the director of Circles of Learning daycare center in Rockford, Anita Rummage’s passion is providing a safe, fun place for children to play and learn while their parents work.

But the state’s historic budget crisis has stopped Anita from accepting as many children as she would wish. For the first time ever, the center doesn’t have a wait list. That’s because the eligibility requirements for the Child Care Assistance Program changed in November 2015.

Instead of accepting families whose income is at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, the program now offers assistance to families with income at or below 162% of the poverty line. Additionally, parents who are attending school full-time to receive their undergraduate degree are no longer eligible for assistance.

Anita says several families fall into those categories and have therefore been unable to send their children to Circles of Learning. The daycare center itself has made ends meet during the crisis, being a bit more economical on purchasing supplies here and there, but Anita truly hopes the Child Care Assistance Program can be restored to the level it was before the budget crisis so she can welcome the children stuck in limbo.