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Possible increase to child care tax credit

WSIL — Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, along with a 19 other senators, have introduced the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Enhancement Act. The legislation would increase the tax credit from a $1,050 to $3,000 with a maximum of $6,000 that a family could get back. 

It would also expand the credit to families with incomes under $120,000, and would make the credit fully refundable to make sure those with the greatest need see a benefit. 

It comes at a time when some Illinois day cares worry about rising costs and keeping fees affordable including Robin’s Nest of Marion and Carterville. 

Jena Parson, director of the Marion location, says both facilities provide care for 450 children from hands-on activities and field trips. 

"We do a lot of learning through play so a lot of activities throughout the day," Parson explains. "Just because they’re not sitting in a circle or at a table doesn’t mean that they’re not learning through everything that they’re doing in a classroom." 

The centers also provide nutritious meals. "Everything is home cooked here, so we don’t do frozen foods. We have an in-house cook who cooks everything," Parson says. 

However,  she says, as time goes on, so does the cost to keep things running. 

A major expense is an increase in minimum wage, which will reach $15 dollars an hour in six years. The increase could affect daycare rates for parents.

 "As wages go up, things go up. Everything else goes up with it," Parson comments. 

Plus, the minimum wage increase could impact families who rely on child care assistance programs.

"Does that mean that they’re going to not qualify for that program anymore? Does that mean they’re not gong to have childcare for their children?," she wonders. 

Parson says, for the future, there are more questions than answers, "It’s still a scary thought moving forward of what’s to happen, so I think everything is just up in the air with people, they are unsure." 

But what is certain, Parson adds, is that Robin’s nest will stay put and continue to provide the best care possible and work with families as best as they can. 

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