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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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For Immediate Release
November 4, 2004

Gov. Blagojevich expands program to feed
up to 40,000 additional Illinois children
More than 19,000 additional day care providers now eligible for meal reimbursments

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that, as a result of new partnership between the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Human Services, thousands of additional Illinois children will now have access to healthy meals and snacks. The state is expanding the Child and Adult Care Food Program to allow 19,000 family childcare home providers in Illinois to receive reimbursement for the cost of providing healthy meals and snacks to an additional 40,000 young children.

“This is an example of the new State Board working cooperatively with another state agency to do the right thing,” said Gov. Rod Blagojevich. “By working together and using common sense, we found a way to feed more children.”

Previously, only providers licensed through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received reimbursement to feed children in their care. License-exempt, family day care home providers were denied access to the program and had to pay for children’s food out of their own pockets.

Through the new partnership, the Department of Human Services (DHS), which oversees the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) that supplies child care subsidies for low income families in Illinois, will notify the State Board of Education of all license-exempt providers serving children enrolled in the CCAP. Those providers will have access to meal reimbursement and other benefits, including meal planning and nutrition guidelines.
“We are always looking for ways to improve quality, especially for the license-exempt providers who are not part of any system,” said DHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “We’re happy to partner with the State Board of Education to ensure that children start off right with healthy meals and good nutrition.”

“What’s important here is that kids are getting healthy meals. This is an example of what we can accomplish when we partner to do the right thing for children. I commend the staff at the State Board and DHS who worked on this effort,” said Interim State Superintendent Randy Dunn. “They saw an innovative way to work with another agency and help kids. That’s what the new State Board is all about.”

Child Nutrition Programs are federally funded and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. The expansion will come at no cost to the state. For information, child care providers can go to or call the State Board’s Nutrition Programs and Support Services at 800-545-7892.

"On behalf of thousands of license-exempt home childcare providers, we thank Governor Blagojevich, the Illinois State Board of Education and DHS for making this expansion possible. Hundreds of providers, parents and advocates made our voices heard this summer in support, and we're happy to see the expansion moving forward," said Lula Bronson, license-exempt childcare provider and Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, Local 880. "This is an important step in ensuring quality childcare for all working families in Illinois."

For information on the DHS Child Care Assistance Program, providers should contact the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies at 877-202-4453 or visit the DHS web site at

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777