In May, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB4885 which provides families with children ages 0 to 5 with an indicated case of abuse and neglect access to free- or low-cost child care through the state’s Child Care Assistance Program. Research shows that early exposure to child abuse and neglect can affect the structure of the developing brain. Environments that provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences and opportunities for social play have been shown to compensate, to some degree, for the effects of stress on the brain caused by the exposure to trauma.

The Ahlquist Center developed this legislation as part of its ongoing efforts to increase the number of young children involved in the child welfare system who attend high-quality early care and education programs. Illinois is one of seven states and U.S. territories that currently does not provide child care for families involved in the child welfare system through the state’s subsidized child care program.

HB4885, championed by Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) is currently on the Governor’s desk and awaiting his signature.