Illinois Early Childhood Coalition Statement on Governor’s Funding Commission Recommendations

Illinois Early Childhood Coalition Statement on Governor’s Funding Commission Recommendations
Broad-based coalition thanks governor, early childhood funding commission; pledges further commitment to implementation of multi-year plans for making illinois “best state in nation for families raising young children”

Today, our Early Childhood Funding Coalition — with membership from a broad array of sectors and communities, statewide — thanks Governor Pritzker and the bipartisan Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding for releasing its comprehensive report 
on the future of our state’s early care and education system. We applaud the Commission’s goal, set by the Governor, that “Illinois will become the best state in the nation for families raising young children, with the nation’s best early childhood education and child care.” We now urge state policymakers and leaders to heed the recommendations laid out in the report, using them as a roadmap for how to make that goal a reality. 

We pledge our continued partnership to reach this intended destination together. Ultimately, this journey will benefit not only children from birth to age 5, but their families, communities, and our entire state. We are committed to helping shift from study to practice, from deliberation to implementation, without delay. 

The Commission spent more than a year studying Illinois’ system of early childhood services, its underlying strengths and longstanding challenges, as well as gathering lessons from other states. Along the way, our Coalition helped shape and inform these discussions, guided by our own principles for improving programs’ funding adequacy, equity, transparency and governance. Our members have varied experiences and rich perspectives, and we look forward to putting these to good use in supporting implementation efforts in the months and years ahead.

We welcome this implementation challenge and opportunity, just as we welcome the Commission’s report, which establishes plans to ensure stronger funding of preschool, child care and critical birth-to-3 services — recommendations that aim to reflect concrete needs and actual costs more realistically, reach all young children whose parents want such help, and do so with equity as our guiding star. 

These recommendations envision a better system of early childhood care and education — one that expands access and opportunity to children and families by providing a better delivery of programs’ funding, as well as more effective and efficient program governance with a single state-agency focus that can better target our resources and attention to the needs of Illinois’ youngest learners. Greater support of the state’s dedicated early childhood educators and caregivers is a key aim, understanding that this is vital to equity and quality — and reflecting the COVID-19 pandemic’s reminder that the early care and education workforce supports all other business sectors. 

The pandemic has challenged our state, and we have responded with strength. Now the work to implement these recommendations begins. We know the work ahead will be long and arduous, and limited resources will be a challenge. But we move forward knowing the value and gravity
of our goal: so that all children can thrive, we must invest in and create the nation’s best early care and education system. 

The Early Childhood Funding Coalition is a group of advocates, non-profit organizations, child care providers, school districts, parents and others who have come together to fight for the well-being of Illinois’ youngest children. We seek adequate, equitable, sustainable, reliable funding for children’s services from birth through age 5. We want to ensure all children can access quality education and care, as their parents choose. We want resources to be invested in the children and communities that need it most, in order to eliminate racial, socio-economic, and other disparities. We are working together to make sure that ALL families and early childhood providers have the resources they need to help children succeed. 

The Illinois Early Childhood Funding Coalition consists of 90 organizations (listed below) and over 100 individuals. 

A Child’s Place Early Learning Centers 
A Step Ahead Daycare Inc. 
Ada S. McKinley 
Advance Illinois 
Advance Preschool, Inc. 
Alignment Rockford 
Asian Human Services 
Association of Illinois Montessori Schools 
Baby TALK, Inc. 
Base Child Care 
Berwyn South D100 
Carole Robertson Center for Learning 
Centers for New Horizons 
Circle Root Collaborative 
Chicago Dia de los Niños 
Chicago Public Schools 
Children’s Home & Aid 
Children’s Playhouse 
Circles of Learning 
Community Organizing & Family Issues 
Collaboration for Early Childhood 
CPPC City Parent Policy Committee/ Community Representative/Executive Committee Cuddle Care 
CUSD 303 Early Childhood 
Dolton Riverdale School District 148 
El Hogar del Nino 
Equitable Perspective 
Ericka Okuneva
Erikson Institute 
Erie Neighborhood House 
Eyes On The Future Child Development Center 
Faith Coalition 
Family Focus 
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids – Illinois 
For Your Child Preschool 
Good Shepherd Institute Family Childcare 
GROW Developing Childcare Professionals, Inc. Happy Bear Child Development Center 
Harry S. Truman College 
Hathaway Miranda LLC 
Harlem Community Center 
HCC Hand-n-Hand Child Care Center 
Illinois Developmental Therapy Association 
IFF (formerly the Illinois Facilities Fund) 
Illinois for Education Equity 
Illinois Action for Children 
Illinois Association for the Education of the Young Children Illinois Early Intervention Coalition 
Illinois Head Start Association 
Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies Illinois Valley Community College 
Kiddos Care 
Kids Above All 
Kingdom Academy learning center 
Kohl Children’s Museum 
Latino Policy Forum 
LINK Unlimited Scholars 
Little Leaders Academy 
Little Scouts 
Marillac St. Vincent Family Services 
McLean County Unit District 5 
Mission: Readiness – Illinois 
Mosaic Early Childhood 
National Louis University 
Nurse-Family Partnership 
Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery 
Oakton Community College Early Childhood Education Center Okkin 
One Hope United 
Open Space Early Learning Center 
Ounce of Prevention Fund 
Our Leaders of Tomorrow 
Palma Wilderman 
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois 
ReadyNation – Illinois
Rockford Day Nursery 
SAL Family and Community Services 
St. Paul Christian Day Care and Kindergarten 
Start Early 
Teach Plus Illinois 
The Center: Early Childhood Professional Learning 
The Chicago Urban League 
The Children’s Center of Cicero-Berwyn 
TJs Tiny Town 
Under Carrey’s Care Corp 
Voices for Illinois Children – Powered by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago We Are The World Home Day Care 
YMCA Metropolitan Chicago