CDC Releases Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Childhood Education and Care Programs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programs. The updated guidance focuses on helping administrators of ECEC programs, along with state and local health officials, safely support in-person child care operations.
Read the Updated Guidance
- Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination among eligible individuals can help ECE programs protect staff and children in their care, as well as their families.
- Most ECE programs serve children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered COVID-19 prevention strategies (e.g. using multiple prevention strategies together) to protect children and adults who are not fully vaccinated.
- COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including children and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.
- Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (ages two and older) who are not fully vaccinated. ECE settings may implement universal mask use in some situations, such as if they serve a population not yet eligible for vaccination or if they have increasing, substantial, or high COVID-19 transmission in their ECE program or community.
- Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, the occurrence of outbreaks, and local policies and regulations to guide decisions on the use of layered prevention strategies.
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants Database
The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) in collaboration with the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) has launched the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health (I/ECMH) Consultants Database.
The Database is a centralized location for early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs. This invaluable resource makes connecting with highly qualified I/ECMH Consultants convenient and will streamline the process of locating and partnering with an I/ECMH Consultant in your community.
Learn more at the Database website and from the GOECD.
COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program
Cook County Government, Cook County Health and Cook County Department of Public Health are pleased to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to those living or working in Cook County. The distribution of COVID-19 vaccination will be done in a phased approach as vaccine supply is available and using guidance from local, state and national public health authorities. On this site, you can sign up for COVID-19 updates and information to schedule an appointment when administration expands to your phase. Providing all the information requested will ensure that you are notified properly as the program expands. Please visit frequently to access the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and the vaccine distribution program.
Sign up to receive:
- Updates on the Vaccine and the Community Vaccination Program
- Notification for when vaccine administration is open to your phase
- Information on scheduling a vaccine appointment through Cook County Health
- Information on vaccine distribution locations throughout Cook County
Click here for more information.
City of Chicago Offers In-Home Vaccinations
The City of Chicago is working to integrate mobile home health care vaccination services to reach home-bound individuals who are unable to go to the City’s COVID-19 vaccination sites to get the vaccine. This program is specifically for Chicago residents who are unable to leave home for medical reasons. Individuals living outside the City of Chicago are not eligible for this program.
Click here to view the eligibility requirements and to access the form that is to be completed so the City can coordinate in-home vaccinations for eligible residents.
Funding Commission Report & Resources
In December 2019, the Governor established the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding ("Early Childhood Funding Commission"). The Commission’s charge was to study and make recommendations to establish funding goals and funding mechanisms to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age five and to advise the Governor in planning and the implementing these recommendations. The Commission submitted their recommendations to the Governor in March 2021.
The documents linked below comprise the official Recommendations of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding.
ICYMI: Gov. Pritzker Announces Federal Funding for IL ECE, More
Governor JB Pritzker recently announced $1.6 billion in federal aid to expand access to high-quality early care and education for children and families across the state.
Approximately $140 million will come in the form of direct grants to child care providers over the next three weeks, adding to the $290 million in assistance to child care providers earlier in the pandemic.
The administration is also creating a new Division of Early Childhood as part of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). This new division will strengthen and centralize the state’s existing child care, home visiting, and early intervention services within IDHS.
Read the full announcement for more details and read the Early Childhood Funding Coalition's statement on these transformational announcements.
Illinois Launches $10 Million Public Awareness Campaign to Encourage Vaccinations in the Hardest-Hit Communities
As more Illinoisans become eligible for the vaccine and the supply from the federal government continues to grow, Governor JB Pritzker launched a new public awareness campaign directed especially to residents in the hardest-hit communities who are reluctant to take the vaccine. The public awareness campaign features Illinoisans who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 and are sharing their stories and belief in the vaccine. As a part of the administration’s data-driven and equity-centric pandemic response, the campaign follows the CDC’s Vaccinate with Confidence Strategy of aiming to reach “the moveable middle” — residents who want to protect their health but are hesitant about getting vaccines.
Watch the first ads here:
Click here for the full press release. Additional resources will continue to be updated on coronavirus.illinois.gov.
CDC Resources on the COVID-19 Vaccine
CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Resources for Teachers, School Staff, and Child Care Providers
In March, the CDC compiled vaccine communication resources for teachers, school staff, and child care providers for School and Childcare Staff COVID-19 Vaccination Month. Click here for CDC resources all can use to help communicate about nationwide efforts to vaccinate teachers, school staff, and childcare providers against COVID-19.
Joint Statements from the Public Funders of Home Visiting in Illinois
To provide some clarification to the field, the major public funders of home visiting have recently issued joint statements on breastfeeding, Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (I/ECMHC), and serving families with child welfare involvement. These joint statements are from the following funders:
- Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
- Illinois Head Start Association (IHSA)
- Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
- Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV)
- City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS)
The joint statements can be found in two places:
Home visiting programs are encouraged to bookmark these webpages, as additional joint statements will be posted there in the future.
I/ECMHC Website Launch
The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) is thrilled to announce the launch of the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (I/ECMHC) webpage on their website! This webpage will serve as a landing page where timely updates on I/ECMHC cross-systems work in Illinois will be posted as they become available.
Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health has been part of the Illinois infrastructure since the early 2000s, and it continues to play an integral role in our early childhood systems. Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants enhance the early childhood workforce’s response to the evolving developmental needs of children by partnering with early childhood programs (home visiting, as well as center-based, home-based, and school-based child care) to build capacity in responsive learning.
This webpage dedicated to the work of I/ECMHC includes:
- Brief History of I/ECMHC
- What is Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation?
- Research and Ongoing Activities
- Benefits of Consultation
- Key I/ECMHC Resources
Please visit the webpage here.
COVID-19 Handbook Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools
From the U.S. Department of Education - Brighter days are ahead. We are making progress. More schools across the country are reopening for in-person learning, and they’re doing so with the help of clear, science-based guidance from experts in the field. The Department has released part one of a COVID-19 Handbook to help schools implement guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we’re working on the second volume. Together, these guides will provide more evidence-based strategies for schools to minimize disruptions caused by school closures, especially for our most vulnerable students and communities, and address the impact of COVID-19 on educational opportunity across communities.
Pilot Evaluation of the Illinois Model of I/ECMHC is Live
Last month, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago released its study on the Illinois Model of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Under the leadership of the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, this model was piloted in three early childhood systems (child care, school-based preschool, and home visiting) in four communities in Illinois. Findings included: the model was implemented with fidelity in all three programs, providers improved their skills, and there were positive classroom and home visiting effects.
In the mental health consultation process, trained health professionals help early childhood service providers build their capacity to foster the emotional well-being of children and families. In this study, researchers found this intervention demonstrated positive effects on staff's “reflective capacity”. Reflective capacity is the ability to reflect on what the provider is observing in children and families and to see conditions from the family’s perspective, including consideration of the families’ experiences and history, the ability to interpret one’s own and others’ mental states, and an understanding of the provider’s own reaction to specific children or families.
In this study, positive effects were found in both classroom and home visiting environments. Parents who participated reported higher satisfaction with their role as parents than those in the comparison group, and providers participating in the intervention reported less stress.
Click here to access the landing page for the Pilot Evaluation. At the bottom of the page, you will see buttons linking to the “Illinois Model Report” and the “Illinois Model Brief”.
National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) Profile
The National Center for Children in Poverty featured an Illinois State Profile in their Promoting Research-informed State I/ECMH Policies and Scaled Initiatives (PRiSM) under several categories: I/ECMH Consultation in Early Childhood Education programs, I/ECMH in Part C Early Intervention Program (EI) Program, I/ECMH in Home Visiting, and Workforce Development. Illinois was among only three other states to provide a detailed state profile on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health work across the nation.
The state profile includes the history of the Illinois model, which was originally developed in 2016, and then links to the findings from the extensive pilot evaluation published this year. The profile also mentions GOECD and the state leadership team, as they will be overseeing the revisions to the model to incorporate lessons and findings from the evaluation.
The state profile also mentions the minimum requirements for consultants, orientation sessions with consultants, and the development services delivered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA).
To read more on the strategies Illinois aims to implement to overcome challenges in the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health sphere, click here.
Illinois Early Childhood Racial Equity Efforts & Resources
The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development is thrilled to announce the launch of the Illinois Early Childhood Racial Equity Efforts & Resources webpage on the GOECD website. Developed in partnership with the Illinois BUILD Team, the webpage features information on the State's commitment to racial equity; the racial equity work of the Illinois Early Learning Council (ELC); the racial equity work of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding (the "Early Childhood Funding Commission"); and numerous early childhood racial equity tools and resources organized by content type (e.g. podcasts, Illinois data, books, etc.).
Important COVID-19 Vaccination Information for Early Childhood Providers
On January 25, 2021, Illinois transitioned into Phase 1B to administer COVID-19 vaccines to those eligible in Priority Group 1B. Illinois has included the following providers under the "educator" category eligible for vaccines in Priority Group 1B as outlined in the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Plan:
- Early Intervention personnel
- Home- and center-based child care providers
- Home Visiting & Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) providers
- Head Start/Early Head Start providers
- Preschool for All providers
- Support staff, including custodial, transportation, kitchen, and other staff
Please note that Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) staff and family members of the provider are not included in this priority group.
Early childhood providers are undoubtedly critical to not only the infrastructure of our State, but also in the care and education of our youngest citizens. Many of you are eager to receive your vaccines as soon as they become available, and we encourage all eligible early childhood education and care providers to do so.
However, it is important to note there are approximately 3.2 million Illinoisans who currently qualify for the vaccine in Priority Group 1B. Though you are eligible now, due to the limited supply of the vaccines and the limited number of healthcare providers administering the vaccine in Illinois, it may take weeks for an appointment to become available to you. It is expected to take at least several months before all those who are eligible in Priority Group 1B to receive their first dose of the vaccine.
Currently, demand for the vaccine outweighs supply. Patience is needed while vaccine quantities increase. With time, and as more shots arrive, the number of appointments in your area will open. Your patience has been unmatched since the beginning of this pandemic, and the vaccination process will also require a “we” as we get through it.
To Find Available Vaccination Sites in Your Area (Statewide)
The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is federal to local; this would make your local health department, local medical facility, and/or local pharmacy your best resource regarding the availability of the vaccine in your area.
Please note the City of Chicago is receiving a supply of the vaccine that is separate from what is being distributed to the rest of the State.
All vaccinations are currently by appointment only. Coronavirus.Illinois.gov, the State’s COVID-19 response website, is regularly being updated to provide eligible residents with nearby vaccination sites using an interactive map, information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the State’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Click here to access a searchable map of vaccine locations across the State; this list includes local health departments, as well as Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, Kroger, Mariano’s, and Walgreens pharmacy locations that are administering vaccines. New sites and pharmacies are being added daily to this website page. Please check back regularly for available appointments in your area.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free, regardless of your insurance status. If you are insured, your insurance will be charged.
Vaccination Appointments and Sites in Cook County
All early childhood providers who live and/or work in suburban Cook County can sign up with the Cook County Department of Public Health (serving all suburbs in Cook County except Oak Park, Skokie, Stickney, and Evanston) to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine at several different locations. If no appointments are available at the time you sign up, you will be contacted as soon as new appointments become available.
Visit https://vaccine.cookcountyil.gov/ to sign up at any time, or call the hotline 1-833-308-1988, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
To Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Federal Vaccine Allocations Going Directly to Some Pharmacies
The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination locations across Illinois continues to increase. More than 340 new retail pharmacy locations have been added to the list of COVID-19 vaccination sites open to the public. There are now more than 850 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public. The new sites include 339 Walgreens stores throughout Illinois, which will be receiving vaccine out of a federal allocation and not from the state’s allotment. Additionally, four CVS locations are being added.
Read the press release from the Illinois Department of Public Health here.
For more information visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website.
A townhall FAQ was released online in both English and Spanish. This FAQ answers questions the state received from early childhood providers on vaccines, federal funding, program capacity and policy clarification.
FAQ English – https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD/Documents/IN24621.pdf
FAQ Spanish - https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD/Documents/IN2462_SP.pdf
Townhall Webinar Recording in English | Spanish
Small Business Owners and Federal Relief Resources
Early childhood programs are also small businesses and should be maximizing the federal relief funds passed by Congress in December 2020. Click here for a list of resources to better understand what is available to help your business weather the financial storm created by the pandemic.
Free Lead in Water Testing for Illinois Child Care Providers
We are excited to announce the launch of LeadCare Illinois, a new program that offers free lead in water training and testing to all DCFS-licensed child care providers.
Fulfill your DCFS lead in water testing and training requirements with the state-supported LeadCare Illinois program.
Register online by clicking here to test your facility’s water for lead or by calling 312-300-7074. LeadCare Illinois is funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
All are encouraged to visit the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for information on Illinois' vaccination plan, access to a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions document (last updated 1/6/21 and available in Spanish, Polish, French, Chinese, and English), and to view the Vaccine Distribution Plan for Phases 1A and 1B.
Have School-Aged Children? You May Be Eligible for Grocery Benefits During COVID
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students who normally get free or reduced price school meals at school may be eligible for a program to help your family buy groceries. This program is called Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT).
For each day that K-12 schoolchildren lack access to an in-school lunch, P-EBT provides eligible families with $6.82 in benefits per student, per day. These benefits are provided on a card that can be used like a debit card to purchase food at any grocery store that accepts LINK cards. Benefits will be issued starting in March but they will be retroactive to the start of the 2020-2021 school year; benefits will go through the end of the school year.
P-EBT was offered at the end of the last school year but the application process is different now. To receive P-EBT benefits, your child must be enrolled in free or reduced price meals or attend a school that provides meals free to all students.
Here is what you need to know to make sure you receive P-EBT benefits:
- If your child is already enrolled in free or reduced price school meals OR attends a school that provides meals for free to all students AND your address is up-to-date:
- Your child will get P-EBT automatically for qualifying days (days when the child lacked access to an in-school meal).
- Each child will receive their own card with their name on it.
- Cards will be mailed to you in March.
- Cards will arrive in an unmarked envelope so please be on the lookout.
- Families should hold onto their P-EBT card(s) because future benefits will be loaded onto the same card.
- If you are new to your school district, your student is not enrolled in free or reduced price meals, OR you recently moved:
- You must fill out a free or reduced-price school meal application with your school. Your child may be eligible for benefits retroactive to August, but you should complete an application as soon as possible.
- Please visit your school website or call your school to submit a school meal benefit application.
- You can get your P-EBT card mailed to the school instead, but you must notify the school that you want to do this.
- All students are eligible regardless of immigration status
- P-EBT will not be considered under the public charge rule.
- Students can still get free meals from school and community sites and get P-EBT, too:
- Take home meals and P-EBT are separate programs.
- To find free meal sites near you, text the word “food” or “comida” to: “877-877”
- You can also visit your school district website to find school meal locations in your area.
Don’t forget: to receive P-EBT benefits, it is important that your address is up-to-date with your school.
For more information about P-EBT, please visit www.chicagosfoodbank.org/pebt or review these frequently asked questions in English | Spanish
Illinois Home Visiting Program Administration Changes
Administration of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is moving from the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) effective February 1, 2021, a key step in efforts to consolidate early childhood programs under one agency. "We are excited to have the MIECHV program and team join IDHS, building on the strong partnership we have had with them over the past decade," said IDHS Secretary Grace Hou.
Program leaders—with support from the State’s Home Visiting Task Force and other stakeholders—note that this is as an opportunity to strengthen supports for the IDHS home visiting program while leveraging the impact of MIECHV innovative pilot projects and funding. Further, the consolidation will allow the State to increase alignment of data systems, funding mechanisms, program monitoring, and professional development, and to provide additional workforce supports.
“This transition is the first effort to build an interagency culture as part of the State’s vision to move towards an integrated early childhood system,” stated Theresa Hawley, PhD, First Assistant Deputy Governor for Education, Office of the Governor. “Integrating these programs is a step toward overall coordination of the State’s home visiting system.”
Additional information can be obtained by contacting the home visiting team at Gov.HomeVisiting@illinois.gov.
Governor Pritzker Announces Updates to COVID-19 Mitigations & Vaccine Administration Plan
Following a decrease in COVID-19 test positivity rates and hospitalizations throughout Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker announced regions across the state that are now eligible to move out of Tier 3 mitigations, the strictest tier of Illinois' resurgence mitigation plan. Tier 3 mitigations were implemented shortly before Thanksgiving in response to a surge of COVID-19 statewide and across the Midwest. After weeks of careful consultation with public health experts, the Governor announced that regions could resume moving out of the tiered resurgence mitigations (Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1) and back into Phase 4 on a data-driven basis.
The Governor also announced adjustments to the resurgence mitigations in light of ramped up vaccination efforts across the state, with Tier 1 of the resurgence mitigation plan now allowing restaurants and bars in a qualifying region to resume indoor dining with limited capacity. Youth and recreational sports may also resume activity in all regions following the Illinois Department of Public Health's (IDPH) All Sports Policy in all regions moving out of Tier 3.
In addition, the Governor announced Phase 1A of the Illinois COVID-19 Vaccination Administration Plan is on track to be substantially completed this week, with the entire state on track to move into to Phase 1B on Monday, January 25. In accordance with local progress, IDPH has permitted local health departments who have already substantially completed their 1A populations to move forward with 1B in order to leave no vaccine on the shelves.
- Click here for the official press release.
- Click here for the Illinois Resurgence Mitigation Plan, updated on 1/15/21.
The Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Justice Warn: Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
Important Immunization Information
Immunizations, also known as vaccines, are one of our greatest defenses against many serious illnesses. However, as parents around the country and across Illinois canceled well-child checkups to avoid coronavirus exposure, public health and Medicaid health plans experts feared that inadvertently the seeds of another health crisis were being sown.
According to the CDC, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been as much as a 50% decline in routine vaccinations for children aged 24 months or under. The alarming decline in routine childhood vaccinations could result in vaccine-preventable outbreaks. For example, if measles vaccination coverage of 90%–95% (the level needed to establish herd immunity) is not achieved, measles outbreaks can occur.
Illinois State Law
Illinois State law requires certain immunizations for children and adults enrolled in child care, school, or college. To learn more, see the right-hand column of the Fall 2020 School Immunization Requirements.
Certificate of Religious Exemption Form
Certificate of Child Health Examination
Certificate of Child Health Examination (En Español)
Certificate of Child Health Exam Memo
Laws & Rules
Public Act 099-0249 - Religious Exemption Amendment to School Code
K-12 Immunization Requirements
College Immunization Requirements
Mercury-Free Vaccine Act
Mercury-Free Vaccine Act Exemption Declaration (2019)
Healthcare Employee Vaccination Code
Illinois Guidelines for Needle Disposal
VFC Program Manual for Illinois VFC Providers
IAMHP Immunization and Well-Child Webinar Series
The Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans (IAMHP) put together a complimentary 3-part webinar series tackling issues and barriers to immunization that IAMHP and its member health plans were seeing. Click here to view the recorded series.
Highlights of the Lessons Learned:
- Tracking efforts, data, and outreach to providers and members are vital.
- Contact families to schedule missed vaccinations. Use member electronic health records and immunization information to identify children who have missed recommended vaccinations and work with families to schedule in-person appointments.
- Communicate your infection control practices with parents. Fear of crowded waiting rooms is a real concern for most, so make sure members know there are strict procedures and processes in place to ensure their safety.
- Dedicate specific clinics, buildings, or rooms for sick and wellness visits. Separate sick and well members into different locations or areas of the clinic. For providers with limited space, consider collaborating with community organizations to identify separate locations.
- Create mobile vaccination sites to limit in-person contact. Similar to many COVID-19 testing sites, allow members to check-in by phone but receive the vaccine in their vehicle.
Illinois Child Care Group Sizes & Ratios are Restored to Pre-Pandemic Levels
As of December 30, 2020, group sizes and ratios have been returned to pre-pandemic levels for both home- and center-based child care. The most updated Guidance, which reflects these changes, can be found below:
COVID-19 Holiday Safety Campaign for ECE Providers
The State of Illinois and its public health partners statewide are continuing their COVID-19 Holiday Safety Campaign for early care and education providers. Be on the lookout for regular communications from them that include downloadable materials for social media and/or print for you to share with staff and parents! You can also access all the downloadable materials and informational links that have been sent out as part of the campaign to date.
These unprecedented times have disrupted so many of our usual outlets and coping methods for stress. This week, the campaign highlights mental health wellness to support frontline providers by sharing resources that can help with your self-care. The only way you can continue to care for others is if you also care for yourself.
Well Child Visits - An Essential Part of a Child’s Care
This year has brought so many challenges, including a decrease in the number of child well-visits. Well-visits are a chance for parents to speak with their child's health care provider about any concerns and to learn more about their child's development and health. If parents have concerns about visiting their child's pediatrician, encourage them to give them a call! The pediatrician will discuss with parents how they are keeping children and families safe when visiting the office for well-visits.
PN3 Coalition Opportunity
The Illinois Prenatal to Three (PN3) Policy Agenda is a comprehensive, ambitious agenda to close the opportunity gap for our earliest learners. The PN3 Coalition is the state's collective effort to enact this Agenda.
The Illinois GOECD is excited to share information about Illinois’ PN3 Agenda, Coalition, and an opportunity to participate in this critical effort to support Illinois’ expecting families, babies, and toddlers.
All who are interested should complete the PN3 Coalition Interest Form. The Coalition will hold a meeting for all who have expressed interest after the holidays to inform, engage, and seek input as they move forward.
If you have any questions, please contact the IL PN3 Team.
COVID-19 Safety Reminder Campaign for Providers, Staff & Parents
The Illinois Governor's office of Early Childood Development (GOECD) and their State agency partners have launched a messaging campaign to give child care providers, staff, and parents timely and useful safety reminders, current and emerging public health data, and suggestions for how to prepare for the upcoming holidays as the pandemic persists.
With the holiday season coming up, we will collectively have to continue to take a proactive approach to reimagining our festivities in order to stay safe. Child care providers and staff have been doing an amazing job at keeping our children and families healthy. This campaign aims to remind us all to stay strong and keep going!
Check out the GOECD's website for more information on this campaign and how you can get involved.
Resources for Child Care Providers
On 10/14/2020, GOECD, IDPH, DCFS, and IDHS hosted a Child Care Provider Town Hall Meeting for child care providers currently caring for children, CCR&R staff, and advocates. The following resources were made available following the meeting and have been posted to the GOECD website:
UPCOMING: Q&A based on the chat box from the 10/14/20 Town Hall and the 9/24/20 webinar “The Early Learning Landscape Six Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic” in English and Spanish.
School-Aged Children Who Need Full-Time Care During Remote Learning
Important Update on School-Aged Children in Remote Learning
CCAP will pay a full-time day for school age children in remote learning if the parent’s work/school schedule does not allow them to be home with their child and the child is in the provider’s care for five or more hours during that time.
Parents and child care providers can inform us of a need for full-time care in the following ways:
- Child care providers can change any part-time days on their child care certificates to full days, and write the reason for the change as "remote learning."
- Parents can call, e-mail, or text us and let us know they need full-time care for their school-aged children due to remote learning. If you e-mail or text us, please include your 15 digit Child Care Management System case number.
Opportunity for Home Visiting Collaboratives to Implement IRIS
As a part of the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Renewal
grant, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) seeks to
implement the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS) in up to five established
home visiting collaboratives, including those in rural communities that are practicing
some form of coordinated intake processes and are in need of adequate support and
technology to fully develop into coordinated intake communities.
While direct funding is not provided through this pilot, each pilot collaborative will receive access to IRIS and technical assistance support. Click here for more information on the pilot project and here for the application template. Please send any questions or concerns to Deborah Hwang at Deborah.Hwang@Illinois.gov.
Holiday Season Safety Protocols
As we head into the holiday season, health experts across the country say what happens during our upcoming celebrations could be essential for containing COVID-19. Mawlid, Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve/Day are times when we typically gather with our families and friends. However, this year is different.
Each of us has a personal responsibility to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Don’t let your guard down. Reimagine your holiday celebrations. Continue social (physical) distancing, handwashing, and wearing face coverings. Be mindful there are individuals who don’t exhibit symptoms but may still infect others. In these unprecedented times, we must exercise caution to keep ourselves, family members, and the community-at-large safe.
The day will come when we can remove the “distance” from our social gatherings and “reconnect” with our larger family and community circles. Until then, please continue to be mindful of the safety protocols.
New Yale Study - COVID-19 Cases in Child Care
On 10/14/20, researchers from Yale University released the findings of a survey of over 57,000 child care providers regarding community transmission of COVID-19 within the child care system. The survey is one of the largest epidemiological studies on a workforce ever conducted. The Yale study can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. The full study and an Executive Summary can be found on the Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) website.
Key findings: The study found that exposure to child care was not associated with an elevated risk of spreading COVID-19 to providers, as long as programs continue to follow core health and safety practices. The study also identifies that community spread matters, and child care programs will need to be responsive to localized transmission of COVID-19, which may result in ongoing closures or other challenges. The study did not investigate the effects of COVID-19 on children in child care. It focused solely on adults working in child care settings.
Supplemental Mitigation Guidance for Home Visiting, Coordinated Intake & Doula Programs
Supplemental Restore Illinois guidance on mitigation is now available for home visiting, doula, and coordinated intake programs. As of October 26, 2020, this guidance has been approved by MIECHV, DHS, IHSA, and the City of Chicago DFSS (and is under review by ISBE). This is a supplement to the Restore Illinois Guidance for Home Visiting, Doula, and Coordinated Intake Programs issued on August 31, 2020.
New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document for Home Visiting
MIECHV, DHS, and DFSS (City of Chicago) have released an FAQ document to address questions that funders have received from home visiting programs regarding Restore Illinois. This document will be updated periodically to incorporate new questions from the field.
Guidance for Early Care & Learning Providers
For EI Providers & Families of Children with Special Needs
The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse has issued A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document for Families About Resuming In-Person Early Intervention (EI) During Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
For Early Care and Education Providers
For Child Care Providers
RESTORE ILLINOIS Licensed Child Care Guidance & License Exempt School-Age Guidance
As of August 17, 2020, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has released the most recent guidelines for Illinois Licensed Child Care and License Exempt School Age Guidance.
For Child Care Providers Participating in the Child Care Assistance Program
Instructions from the Illinois Department of Human Services on Child Care Assistance Program billing for July, August and September 2020.
Read the Memo
For Early Intervention Providers
IDHS has issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Early Intervention (EI) Plan for Resuming In-Person Services (8/6/2020). Questions submitted to DHS.EIQuestions@illinois.gov informed the content in the FAQs and will inform revisions to EI Guidance and additional resource development as Illinois continues to move through the phases of Restore Illinois.
For Home Visiting, Doula, & CI Programs
MIECHV & IDHS released Revised Restore Illinois Guidance for Home Visiting, Doula, and Coordinated Intake Programs (8/7/2020). This updated guidance was developed by GOECD in consultation with the major funders of home visiting and the Executive Committee of the Home Visiting Task Force.
For All Illinoisans
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recent urgent warning to consumers and health care providers about hand sanitizer products that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. All are being advised to check the FDA webpage (which now lists 75 products to avoid) on a regular basis to stay fully informed regarding this important health issue.
For Child Care Providers
The FAQs: Reopening Licensed Child Care Homes and FAQs: Reopening Licensed Child Care Centers were updated on 7/29/2020 to include clarifying language on when face shields can be used as an alternative to face masks in child care settings.
For All Early Care & Education Providers
IDHS Updates for Early Intervention Providers
Updated Restore Illinois Child Care Guidance (6.24.20)
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) have issued updated Restore Illinois Child Care Guidance for child care homes and centers to be able to safely reopen.
Additionally, DCFS has filed emergency rule making, effective 6.24.20, for a maximum of 150 days. Additions to the rules include:
- Centers may choose to staff classrooms with a qualified early childhood assistant for up to 3 hours of their program day and should document such in the program's Enhanced Staffing Plan.
- Staff qualified to work as Early Childhood Teachers in an Emergency Day Care (EDC) and who served in the role from March-May 2020 can continue to work as an Early Childhood Teacher through 7.31.20, at the same program which has since reverted to their normal child care license.
- Click here to read this full emergency rule making document
Child Care Re-Opening Guidance Update
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has released standards and guidance for re-opening child care centers and homes. These enhanced health and safety protocols were informed by the experts at the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and represent the best known practices to keep children, staff, and families safe during the ongoing pandemic. As children come back to child care, you can expect to see many changes. For example, to limit exposure, programs will have smaller group sizes and will be restricting interaction among groups of children and staff.
In the coming days, Illinois Action for Children will be sharing a checklist to help parents know what other health and safety practices to look for in your child care program as it reopens.
Pilot Evaluation of the Illinois Model of I/ECMHC is Live Last month, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago released its study on the Illinois Model of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Under the leadership of the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, this model was piloted in three early childhood systems (child care, school-based preschool, and home visiting) in four communities in Illinois. Findings included: the model was implemented with fidelity in all three programs, providers improved their skills, and there were positive classroom and home visiting effects. In the mental health consultation process, trained health professionals help early childhood service providers build their capacity to foster the emotional well-being of children and families. In this study, researchers found this intervention demonstrated positive effects on staff's “reflective capacity”. Reflective capacity is the ability to reflect on what the provider is observing in children and families and to see conditions from the family’s perspective, including consideration of the families’ experiences and history, the ability to interpret one’s own and others’ mental states, and an understanding of the provider’s own reaction to specific children or families. In this study, positive effects were found in both classroom and home visiting environments. Parents who participated reported higher satisfaction with their role as parents than those in the comparison group, and providers participating in the intervention reported less stress. Click here to access the landing page for the Pilot Evaluation. At the bottom of the page, you will see buttons linking to the “Illinois Model Report” and the “Illinois Model Brief”. We welcome your outreach to your colleagues to spread the word about this bold and innovative work in Illinois!
Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Billing Certificates for May and June
In order to be paid for May and June CCAP services you will need to complete an attendance exemption form and return it with your May and June certificates. If your program has received federal funds, you will be asked to certify that you are not billing the state (CCAP) for the same expenses that are covered by federal relief funds. The certification statement will be on the exemption form. Please read the full memo from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) for detailed instructions.
Read the English Memo
| Spanish Memo
The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development has created a web page that serves as a comprehensive repository for the numerous documents from both state and national agencies. Visit the web page. The links provided below are the updates and resources from the past seven days.