Daycare providers more worried after Rauner fires child care advocate

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Last week Linda Saterfield called Gov. Bruce Rauner's cuts to child day care "devastating" for the poor. Now, she's been dumped as the longtime chief of those state programs.

It's sparking a new round of anger over the cuts, which the governor blames on the General Assembly's failure to approve a balanced budget.

As the stalemate in Springfield drones on, day care providers across Illinois are on the verge of going out of business.

Sharron Newsom thought her 7-year-old son would be enrolled by now at a West Side day care center, so she could work more hours at her telemarketing job.

Until last month, the State of Illinois encouraged her and other poor parents to work by paying almost all child care expenses.  Well, not anymore.

At $11,000 a year, Newsom's income is far below the poverty line, but exceeds the new $10,000 limit the state's child care agency imposed last month.

“I wasn't able to work for two weeks already, because I didn't have child care. So, now I'm worried about how I'm going to pay the rent, how I'm going to pay the lights,” said Newsom.

Worried about those same things is the day care center where Newsom hopes to place her son.

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services cared for 748 children last month, expecting $400,000 reimbursement from the State of Illinois. But the Rauner Administration said it won't pay until the General Assembly adopts a balanced budget.

Marillac is negotiating for a bank loan. But other agencies are dismissing their staff and closing their doors.

The woman, who for several decades oversaw Illinois day care, was asked by legislators last week to assess the impact.

“Devastating!” said Linda Saterfield.

“Will some of the people rejected for day care have to quit their jobs to take care of their own children?” asked State Rep. Lou Lang.

“That's a possibility,” she responded.

On Tuesday, it was made known that Saterfield was ousted from her job after delivering that testimony.

When FOX 32 tried to contact Saterfield, a spokeswoman for the Rauner Administration called. She said Saterfield was reassigned to another post in the Department of Human Services "for internal personnel reasons."

The chief of Marillac St. Vincent Family Services says she's just one of hundreds of day care providers upset to lose Saterfield and her plain-spoken common sense.

“We're very, very upset with this change, because I think that she's the person that could lead all of us through the crisis that we're in right now with child care,” said Maureen Hallagan.

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