There is a great deal of empirical evidence that shows how higher child care costs have a negative impact on mothers’ employment. Mothers are more likely to leave employment and less likely to start new jobs when the costs of child care are high. It is also difficult for parents to keep their jobs when they do not have access to consistent quality child care. A study conducted by Jeffrey D. Lyons in North Carolina found that about one in four families who were on a waitlist for child care assistance either lost or had to quit their jobs while they waited for an opening.
Most families currently have three options for securing child care. First, parents can stay at home and care for their children themselves. But this is increasingly difficult, as most families now rely on two breadwinners to stay above water. Moreover, mothers are more likely than fathers to take time away from paid work to care for a child, which can exacerbate mothers’ lifetime earnings gap. Second, parents can pay for child care out of pocket. But this approach is very costly for families, eating up 35.9 percent of a low-income family’s monthly budget. The third option for families is to use federal- or state-funded child care, but access to any publicly funded program, let alone a high-quality program, is very limited. Nationwide, nearly three in four children are not enrolled in a federal or state-funded pre-K program.
When a child care facility is licensed, it means that an Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (IDCFS) licensing representative has inspected the facility and it was found to meet the minimum licensing requirements set by IDCFS. A child care facility that is license exempt is one that is not licensed by IDCFS but must still meet minimum requirements set by Illinois in order to operate as a child care provider. The CCAP will only allow a license-exempt home to care for three children, including the provider's own children, during a day unless all of the children are from the same household. Below are the different types of Licensed and License Exempt Providers and the Standards/Procedures that they must meet.

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Some companies have improved their child-care policies. Earlier this month, Starbucks SBUX, +2.77%  said it would offer 10 subsidized back-up child care days annually to workers, meant to help staffers who find themselves in a jam when care arrangements fall apart. The company is teaming up with Care.com so that workers can pay a dollar an hour for backup care, or $5 for a day’s stay at in-center child care.
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