CHAMPAIGN — Champaign Unit 4 teachers have voted to authorize a strike rather than accept a recent contract offered by the district. If negotiations falter over the next month and teachers do strike, families may suddenly need to find childcare.
One place families can turn for help is the Child Care Resource Service. Based on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus, the state-funded organization specializes in helping families find childcare and pay for it.
Brenda Eastham is the director of operations at the service. She says families can search for childcare providers through the CCRS website or call for help.
“We’re here to help them as well, so if they’re not comfortable doing that online, either one – we can help them. We have staff that cover the phones,” Eastham says.
Eastham says that providers in the area generally accept children through the age of 12.
For children under six, one free option is Crisis Nursery in Urbana. It’s a temporary solution for families facing emergencies like homelessness while they look for more permanent childcare.
CCRS helps families get assistance from the state for these more permanent options. For a family of three making $35,000 a year, this assistance would reduce the cost of a fulltime week at a licensed daycare center from around $200 to $50.
Families in need of childcare can go to ccrs.illinois.edu or call (800) 325-5516.
Because most members in the Champaign Federation of Teachers voted to authorize a strike, CFT can go through the legal process to call one. It does not mean a strike will happen.
Updated on Feb. 21, 2022 to reflect the cost of attending a daycare center for a full day.
Emily Hays is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter @amihatt.