Emergency Broadband Benefit
Starting May 12, 2021, eligible households can begin applying for the Emergency Broadband Benefit through the FCC.
Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
LEARN MORE NOW OR APPLY HERE STARTING MAY 12, 2021
The Chicago Early Learning Preschool Application Launch
The Chicago Early Learning preschool application launched on April 21, 2021. There are 600+ Chicago Public Schools and Community Based programs located in the city. Choose the best program for your family.
Study of Families' Opportunities and Choices after Children's Early Exclusion
A research study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago has shown that thousands of children are expelled or pushed out of early childhood education programs each year. Many states and jurisdictions are enacting policies to limit or prohibit expulsion and suspension from early childhood and preschool programs. Unfortunately, not much is known about how children and families experience these expulsions.
This study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago, is asking for help to better understand families' experiences of and choices after their child's early exclusion – where they turn to for help, what types of supports they received, and what is the relative cost, accessibility, and quality of subsequent care arrangements. The data shared will provide critical information to policymakers, programs, and family advocates about the multiple ways families navigate exclusions and transitions.
More information about this study can be found at:
If you have any questions, please contact Sarai Coba R., PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking Participants For Interview Study
The University of Illinois is recruiting parents/caregivers who have preschoolers with disabilities to participate in an interview study. This study focuses on understanding parent perceptions about preschool motor curriculum for children with disabilities. Please consider participating if: you are a parent/caregiver who has a child (age 3 to 5) with a disability and you can be interviewed online or over the phone. For sharing their time and experiences, participants will receive one electronic $40 Amazon gift card. If you are interested in participating in this study or if you would like more information, please contact: Dayle Sargeant (802) 881-3130, Dr. Catherine Cheung (412) 327-6783, or Dr. Micki Ostrosky (217) 333-0260.
Governor Pritzker Announces Illinois is First State to Extend Full Medicaid Benefits to Mothers 12 Months Postpartum
Governor Pritzker announced Illinois is the first state in the nation to extend full Medicaid benefits from 60 days to 12 months postpartum, following the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approval of Illinois’ 1115 waiver allowing for the extension. The extension of Medicaid postpartum benefits to 12 months will strengthen continuity of care to improve health outcomes for new mothers in Illinois and is aimed at reducing the rate of maternal morbidity and mortality, including significant health disparities for Black women during the postpartum period.
To read the press release for this announcement, click here.
Newly Updated, FREE Application for Teachers, Parents, and Caregivers: CDC’s Milestone Tracker
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers know the importance of tracking children’s developmental milestones; now there’s a new version of the FREE app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help make tracking development easy, fun, and a great way to engage parents and caregivers. CDC’s Milestone Tracker app helps providers, teachers, parents, and caregivers better understand each child’s skills and abilities, track and celebrate developmental milestones, and share developmental progress from ages two months through five years.
The app offers:
- Parent-friendly, interactive developmental milestone checklists adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics;
- The ability to complete a checklist using corrected age for children born prematurely;
- Photos and videos to help parents recognize milestones;
- Tips and activities for supporting early development and sharing concerns;
- The option to complete a checklist in English or Spanish;
- Appointment and developmental screening reminders; and
- The ability to see a summary of a child’s developmental progress in English or Spanish.
This app helps parents and caregivers understand, support, and celebrate their child’s developmental milestones and know when to act early if they have concerns. For more information visit www.cdc.gov/MilestoneTracker.
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.
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.
CDC Resources on the COVID-19 Vaccine
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.
Anti-Asian American Racism Impacts Children’s Return to In-Person Learning
Anti-Asian American racism continues to surge and impact children and families across the U.S. According to Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading coalition documenting and addressing anti-Asian hate and discrimination through the pandemic, over 2,800 hate incidents have been reported thus far. NPR reports that hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased by 150 percent across 16 cities in 2020 alone.
As schools across the U.S. are reopening or preparing to, the continual increase in anti-Asian American racism have made parents and students fear not just bullying within the classrooms but harassment from adults on the way to school.
The Society for Research in Child Development provides policy and practice implications for providers, community leaders, and policymakers on addressing this. The Illinois GOECD also issued guidance in May 2020 for families, providers, and policymakers on addressing anti-Asian American racism during the pandemic.
You can read Illinois Action for Children's recent statement condemning recent violent attacks against the Asian-American community on our website.
Resources to Ensure Illinoisans Receive Their Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Payments
Most Illinoisans are eligible for Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks, from the federal government. A group of nonprofit organizations have come together to help ensure more hardworking, low-income Illinoisans are able to quickly and efficiently receive these funds. Visit www.GetMyPaymentIL.org. Using the dropdown menu in the top left corner of the homepage, the website can be translated into English, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Spanish, and Tagalog.
New IDHS Crisis Counseling Program to Support Communities Hardest Hit by COVID-19
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is launching Illinois-Strong, a pilot program to provide community-based crisis counseling to individuals in Cook, Winnebago and St. Clair Counties who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The program focuses on helping disaster survivors understand their reactions and connect with other individuals and agencies that may assist them in improving their situations.
Staff members who provide individual crisis counseling are active listeners who offer reassurance, practical assistance, and emotional support, while teaching behavioral techniques for coping with stress.
Illinois-Strong will offer disaster-related relief services to individuals identified through individual and group interactions. For additional information on this program, visit Illinois-Strong.org.
Join the Families First IL Facebook Group!
Families First IL is a virtual parent community space designed to help parents and guardians navigate the complexities of child care and early education in Illinois to feel more connected, celebrated, and in control of their children’s future.
This is an ever-evolving space for all family types to build community, share lived experience and expertise, access critical information, and rally for better solutions to child care and early education. This group is also supported by child care and early education experts across the state to provide the most up to date, free and accessible resources to meet the current moment. Parents and guardians, join the Families First IL Facebook Group today!
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.
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”.
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.).
National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Releases Resources to Help Families Access 2020 Tax Credits and Stimulus Payments
The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement put together an email of resources entitled, "Helping Families Access Tax Credits and Stimulus Payments". Click here to access the content and links provided to help families understand the special rules around tax credits related to COVID-19, stimulus checks, etc.
New "Understanding Inclusion" Series
Early CHOICES and the Early Intervention Training Program at the University of Illinois announced a new Understanding Inclusion series of bite-size videos with embedded resources and activities. This series was developed with families and for families to help understand, promote, and advocate for inclusion for children birth to age five.
This new resource is useful to families, practitioners, service coordinators, educators, and administrators in Early Intervention or early childhood. Each topic has a guide to support understanding; topic guides can be used as a companion tool for the learner and as a stand-alone tool to help facilitate discussions and extend learning opportunities.
Click here to access this new series on the Early CHOICES website.
Click here for an infographic overview of the six modules in the series.
Illinois Maternal Health Strategic Plan focuses on Health Equity
The I PROMOTE-IL Project at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Title V Program and the Illinois Maternal Health Task Force, is excited to share the first Illinois Maternal Health Strategic Plan.
The plan’s vision is as follows: Health equity for women, pregnant persons, and families in Illinois, across race, ethnicity, class, geography, immigration status, and ability, where all have what they need to be healthy and reach their full potential. As a call to action to address the stark inequities in maternal health outcomes in Illinois, the plan is intended to guide, support, and/or strengthen the efforts of multiple organizations, groups, and individuals to reverse these inequities.
The plan includes a statewide strategic agenda with the following five priority areas:
- Care Coordination and Case Management
- Public Education and Community Empowerment and Engagement
- Equal Access to High Quality Care
- Root/Structural Causes of Health Inequity
- Maternal Health Data for Action
Each priority area has strategies and preliminary action steps to pursue over the next four years. The Illinois Maternal Health Strategic Plan is a living document and will be updated annually throughout the remainder of the federal project period, 2021-2024.
The Illinois Maternal Health Task Force looks forward to collaborating with organizations and stakeholders across the state to improve maternal health in Illinois for all pregnant and postpartum persons and their families. Any questions can be sent to IPROMOTE-IL@uic.edu.
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
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.
SNAP Benefit Levels Increase by 15% for January to June 2021
The COVID relief bill signed into law in late December increased SNAP benefit levels by 15% for January to June 2021.
Read the flyer in English | Spanish.
ISBE Launches Chat2Learn Parent Text Program
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is partnering with the University of Chicago Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab to bring a new parent text program called Chat2Learn to preschool families at no cost.
Chat2Learn is based on research and promotes a habit of everyday learning that improves children’s school readiness. Read more in the press release from ISBE. The program delivers text messages to parents to prompt guided conversations about math, literacy, and social-emotional learning with their children at home.
The Chat2Learn program starts every Sunday, so sign up today! The program has ongoing open enrollment, so families can continue to enroll throughout the first half of 2021. The program messages start the Sunday after families enroll and go through the end of June 2021. However, it is encouraged to sign up early in order to take advantage of the whole program. If you have any questions about Chat2Learn, contact Shannon Gedo at BIP Lab.
New Resource Guide for Developing Integrated Strategies to Support the Social and Emotional Wellness of Children
The COVID-19 pandemic has swiftly and substantially affected the social and emotional health of children, especially those experiencing multiple hardships. As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the United States, many children are experiencing widespread disruptions in their daily life. Young children are reacting to stress as their parents' and caregivers' routines change. Children may have strong feelings of fear, worry, sadness, and anger about the pandemic and related issues that affect behavior at home and in child care.
In December 2020, to address these issues, the Office of Child Care (OCC) announced its new initiative to further integrate social and emotional support strategies in child care’s mixed-delivery system. Through this work, OCC will support expanding access to research-based social and emotional and trauma-responsive practices in child care across the country. The first activity of this initiative is the publication of a Resource Guide for Developing Integrated Strategies To Support the Social and Emotional Wellness of Children.
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.
Taking Care of Ourselves: Stress & Relaxation
The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center's Taking Care of Ourselves: Stress & Relaxation webpage features resources, workshops, posters bookmarks, and exercises on stress management and self-care to support family well-being. The best way to support and care for others is to first care for ourselves, so check out these resources!
Video: 10 Ways to Support Children’s Emotional Well-Being During COVID-19
In this short YouTube video, Child Trend's mental health expert, Jessica Dym Bartlett, discusses 10 ways for parents and caregivers to support children’s emotional well-being during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This video is based on the Child Trends resource released this past spring: Resources for Supporting Children's Emotional Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
New NAEYC Survey: Sacrificing to Stay Open, Child Care Providers Face a Bleak Future Without Relief
The essential child care sector has sacrificed and struggled to serve children and families since the start of the COVID pandemic. NAEYC’s newest survey, completed between November 13–29, 2020, by more than 6,000 respondents working in child care centers and family child care homes shows that the crisis facing child care is as consistent and devastating today as it was in March and in July. With 56% of child care centers saying they are losing money every day that they remain open, programs are confronting an unsustainable reality, even as they are taking desperate measures - putting supplies on credit cards, drawing down personal savings, and laying off staff - to remain viable for the children and families they serve. Yet despite the steps they are taking to save themselves, the math on their bottom line does not work, and federal relief is needed to stabilize and support this essential sector.
Click here to read the Brief.
Click here for the state data from the November NAEYC Survey.
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.
Social-Emotional Toolkits for Early Childhood Providers & Leaders
GOECD, in partnership with the Illinois Pyramid Model State Leadership Team, developed Social-Emotional Toolkits early childhood providers and leaders can use to manage stressors and promote wellness during these challenging times. We shared these resources earlier in the pandemic but wanted to send them out again to support those caring for our earliest learners.
Additionally, as part of the COVID-19 Safety Reminder Campaign for child care providers, staff, and parents, click below for a one page interactive infographic highlighting the importance of self-care.
Managing COVID-19 Stress
Hacer frente al estrés provocado por la COVID-19
Learn the Signs. Act Early.
Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) is an evidence-informed program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that aims to improve early identification of developmental delays and disabilities, including autism, by increasing parent-engaged developmental monitoring so children and their families can get the early services and supports they need.
The LTSAE website is equipped with tools and resources to help identify and address developmental concerns earlier. Your program can take part in parent education and engagement on development by utilizing the following materials:
For questions about these Learn the Signs. Act Early. resources and how to promote them in your program, please email Illinois’ Act Early Ambassadors Cari Roestel caroline.roestel@AdvocateHealth.com and/or Lori Orr Lori.A.Orr@illinois.gov.
Videos to Help Parents Promote Learning At Home
The Latino Policy Forum has created a short video to help parents promote early learning in their homes. The video is available in both English and Spanish.
Additionally, the Latino Policy Forum is offering virtual workshops at no cost to those serving English Learners and their families. A description of the workshops can be found here. Those interested in attending a workshop can contact Rosario Hernandez.
New Report - Closer to Home: More Equitable Pre-K Access and Enrollment in Chicago
In the virtual event, “Advancing Equity in Pre-K Access and Enrollment in Chicago: A Conversation with Researchers, Policymakers and Parent Leaders,” Start Early partnered with researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago and the UChicago Consortium on School Research to present results from their new study of Chicago’s school-based pre-K system: Closer to Home: More Equitable Pre-K Access and Enrollment in Chicago. Findings from this study show that improving access to full-day pre-K programs may be an effective policy strategy for increasing enrollment among high-priority student groups and making educational opportunities more equitable. To view the recording of the webinar on the Start Early website, click here.
A Media Mentorship Forum and Workshop
New Directions for Guiding Families, Educators, and Kids Through the Digital Deluge
Join New America's Education Policy Program for a national forum on how media mentorship meets this moment, co-hosted by Chicago Public Library, Skokie Public Library, and Schaumburg Township District Library. Speakers from across the country will address key questions about equity and access, family engagement, media literacy, and learning in the age of Covid and beyond. The final day is an open workshop for librarians and other educators looking to develop innovations and build new outreach efforts into their programming for 2021.
Watch the recording of the webinar here.
Early Childhood-Focused Homelessness Resources
Under the initial PDG B-5 grant, GOECD collaborated with the Illinois Early Learning Project at U of I to create a collection of homelessness resources for providers and families. The webpage contains various tip sheets, toolkits, and podcasts detailing topics such as the rights of families experiencing homelessness, food and nutrition, and family well-being. The focus of the toolkits are statewide, publicly available resources to assist both families with young children experiencing homelessness, as well as their early childhood providers. Several relevant podcasts are also available, detailing the impact of trauma on young children and the role of family voice in early childhood programs.
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 New Parents During the Pandemic
Whether you are pregnant for the first time, have recently given birth to a second or third child or adopted a new member of your family, becoming a parent can be both a rewarding and exhausting experience. And being a new parent in the age of social isolation can be difficult without support systems like friends and family members around to help during stressful times. But new parents aren’t alone in this experience, and many organizations have created resources for new parents working through this life transition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. OnlineCounselingPrograms.com collected resources about issues such as giving birth, mental health care, and providing support.
Check out “Resources for New Parents During the Pandemic” published by Online Counseling Programs.
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.
For Families with Children Enrolled in Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
- Internet Access: Chicago Connected is a groundbreaking program that will provide free high-speed internet service to approximately 100,000 Chicago CPS students. This first-of-its-kind program will be one of the largest and longest-term efforts by any city to provide free, high-speed internet over the course of four years to increase internet access for students. Chicago families can click here to check their eligibility.
- Meal Sites: As of Tuesday, September 8, CPS has established more than 450 meal sites for the 2020–21 school year. Students, parents, or guardians may pick up free meals at the nearest school from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please find the nearest meal distribution site using this map. If families are unable to visit a meal site in-person, the district will continue to provide free delivery for those who need additional support.
Chicago Public Schools Child Learning Hubs
Chicago Public Schools now has a new website with more information on the Child Learning Hubs. The Child Learning Hubs give eligible families a safe space for children to do remote learning while supervised by an adult. Learn more about how to enroll and if you are eligible by visiting their website: https://www.cps.edu/school-reopening-2020/remote-learning-guide/preparing-for-school/child-learning-hubs/
U.S. Department of Education Releases Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide
The U.S. Department of Education released a new Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide, a resource to help parents and guardians understand how digital tools can provide tailored learning opportunities, engage students with course materials, encourage creative expression, and enrich the educational experience. As an increasing number of school systems implement digital learning both inside and outside of the traditional classroom, this guide demystifies digital learning for parents and empowers them to be effective advocates for high-quality digital learning.
Resources & Strategies to Support Children with Disabilities & Their Families During COVID-19
COVID-19 has deeply impacted early childhood programs, children and families, and their communities. This resource list, jointly created by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the Office of Head Start (OHS), and the OHS TA National Centers may be helpful when seeking guidance and resources to help leaders, services providers, teachers, support staff, children, and families during reopening and continuity of services.
This continues to be a stressful time for children, families, and early care and education providers. Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 are ever-present. Children may be struggling with significant adjustments to their routines, which can interfere with their sense of security and ability to learn. Pressure on parents, caregivers, and providers can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of helplessness and frustration.
The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD), in partnership with the Illinois Pyramid Model Statewide Leadership Team, has developed social-emotional toolkits to help manage stressors and promote wellness during these challenging times.
Social Emotional Learning Parent Resources
The Illinois AfterSchool Network and the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership were funded by the Bright Promises Foundation to support the After School Parent Engagement and Social Emotional Learning Project. The collaborative project focused on providing support to After School and Family Child Care Providers through the use of mental health consultation. It is essential that program staff and families collaborate and connect to support the social and emotional development of their youth, which leads to academic success and the development of career and life skills. The manuals, linked below, offer resources, ideas and activities to support programs and families in this process.
Parents & Providers: Please Share Your Story
In partnership with the Funding Coalition, Illinois Action for Children is in the process of creating a storytelling campaign to highlight the critical importance of early childhood educators and providers in the lives of Illinois families, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign will be made available to sector organizations to use however is most impactful.
The goal is to share stories that highlight the critical work of early childhood educators and providers, and the deep relationships between them and the families they serve. Your experiences and perspectives are critical for how we revitalize the early childhood education and care system in Illinois.
- Parents/caregivers, please share your story here.
- Providers, please share your story here.
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.
COVID-19 Parenting Tips & Activities for All Ages in 100+ Languages
Parenting for Lifelong Health has developed open-access online parenting resources to support families during COVID-19. Their Parenting Tip Sheets are available in over 100 languages and provide useful reminders, suggestions, strategies, and activities to help caregivers support themselves, their children, and their families during the pandemic.
Homewood Science Center Free Programs.
Homewood Science Center offers an array of FREE virtual, in-person, and take-home programming.
Visit Homewood Science Center's website for more information.
The Latino Policy Forum: English Learner Resource Awareness
The Latino Policy Forum is asking all to help spread awareness for the growing number of English Learners (ELs) and new research-based recommendations for their success in this unprecedented era of COVID-19.
The Latino Policy Forum has developed a digital toolkit to spread the word and an English Learner resource hub for educators, policymakers, and community and school-based leaders. It includes research-based resources, case studies, and policy recommendations focused on investments that will make a meaningful impact for the success of EL students.
Please use this digital toolkit to share these materials and resources on your platforms and social media to ensure ELs receive the recognition and resources they deserve. Send any questions to Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro, Director of Education Policy & Research at Latino Policy Forum.
HUD Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant
Cook County Department of Public Health - Lead Hazard Reduction Home Improvements
Free home lead inspection and repairs.
Please see flyer for more information. File contains the English and Spanish versions.
Neighborhood Opportunity Fund
The City of Chicago's Neighborhood Opportunity Fund will open for grant applications from entrepreneurs and nonprofit groups on the South, West and Southwest sides September 14, with more than $5 million in funding available. A map of eligible areas can be found on the program's website here.
IRS Home Office Deduction
As many small business have transitioned to working from home, they might be eligible to claim some of their expenses, including rent, mortgage payments, insurance, utilities and more. To see if you qualify, visit IRS.gov for more information.
Legal Aid Chicago - Free Legal Services
Need help During Covid-19?
Free Legal Services
Apply online or call 312-341-1070 to get help now.
Please see flyer English/Español.
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 Parents: Join the Family Advisory Committee (FAC)
Calling all parents! The Family Advisory Committee (FAC) will help you raise your voices up to the state level where important decisions are made that affect you and your children. As part of the Early Learning Council, the FAC will be a parent-led committee that will advise early childhood policy development and work to increase family engagement in early learning systems across Illinois. Please see the Spanish and English flyers to learn more, and apply today!
Invitation to Complete the Housing Development Blueprint Survey
The Housing Blueprint is a statewide planning endeavor that will develop a vision for the future of housing in Illinois, and lay out a plan for achieving it. The Blueprint is coordinated by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA); however, it is a product of the collective participation and collaboration of a wide and diverse group of agencies, organizations, and residents from across the state. The Blueprint strives to engage and raise the voices of all Illinoisans, including those of families with young children, to understand the realities, needs, and hopes for housing within communities both now and in the future.
All individuals are invited to take part in the Blueprint’s process. Click here to take the survey.
Attention Get Your Court Date By Text Or Email
Dorothy Brown Clerk Of The Circuit Court Of Cook County
For more information, visit Cook County Circuit Court website.
Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness: COVID-19 TESTING
Please see flyer and website for details.
No appointment needed. Walk-ins welcome at these participating locations: Aurora Community Health, Aurora Health Outreach, Carpentersville, Danville, Harvey, Hazel Crest, South Holland, Southeast Side, Woodstock, Chicago Heights Community Health, Pediatric Health & Wellness Center in Chicago Heights, Kankakee, East Joliet
Sisters Working It Out - Cancer Awareness and Health Advocacy Organization Offering Screening Mammograms
Screening will be socially distant
Need a mammogram?
No insurance, no transportation, no worries! We got you!
Contact Sisters Working It Out
Please see flyer for more information.
Job Opportunities and Training:
GOECD is Hiring for Four Positions
The Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) is hiring for four positions to support their mission and vision and work to operationalize an equity lens with the goal of eliminating racial inequities throughout the early childhood system.
Please send Cover Letter and Resume to: Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development c/o GOV.OECD@Illinois.gov.
Please click on the job titles below to access the position descriptions:
The Deputy Director works with the GOECD Executive Director to develop and implement early childhood policy across multiple State agencies. The Deputy Director will also coordinate and manage the implementation of the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
Senior Data Analyst
The Senior Data Analyst executes, supports, and manages data projects at the regional, state, and local levels for the Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) grant.
Workforce Policy Coordinator
The Workforce Policy Coordinator manages workforce development policy and projects related to early childhood professionals.
Health Policy Coordinator
The Health Policy Coordinator manages early childhood health policy and programming.
Project Prepare - Youth Guidance
Begin your career now
Join the next cohort of Project Prepare SOUTH
- Two-week training covering: career exploration, job readiness skills, goal setting, & financial literacy
- Connections to internship, employment, and postsecondary opportunities
- Transportation assistance and professional clothing
- Opportunities to network with professionals from different careers
- Weekly coaching and monthly workshops for up to a year
ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS EARN A CERTIFICATE OF TRAINING COMPLETION AND ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A WEEKLY STIPEND!
To join, you must be between 18-24 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
253 E 159th St
Harvey, IL 60426
Contact Meagan Sims to join today email@example.com or 312-523-5971
Please see flyer for more information.
For Front-Line Workers: Grief Sensitivity Virtual Learning Institute
The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network held a two-part virtual learning series, Grief Sensitivity Virtual Learning Institute. This series is geared towards providing front-line workers with tools and strategies that can be used when addressing the needs of individuals experiencing grief and loss during COVID-19 and beyond.
Click here to access all materials and watch the webinars.
Silver Line Windows and Doors - Immediately Hiring
Factory Production Workers for all shifts!
Direct Hire Same Week Start!
Se Ocupan Trabajadores Esenciales para Trabajo en Fábrica
- Open Interviews Every Tuesday 9:00A-1:00P • Benefits Start Day 1
- Walk-ins welcome!
Location: 16801 Exchange Ave. Lansing, IL 60438
See flyer for more information.
Employment & Employer Services (E&ES) Workshops
E&ES has a line-up of job readiness training, wellness, and financial capability workshops scheduled. All a free and open to the public.
Register at: https://www.eesforjobs.com/calendar
Serve the communities of Chicago and become an AmeriCorps Member today!
Each year, the AmeriCorps Program at United Way of Metro Chicago seeks individuals from diverse backgrounds to address critical community challenges. AmeriCorps members are highly motivated, flexible, resourceful people who have the shared goal of igniting change and moving their community forward.
Whether they are connecting residents to services or connecting stakeholders to United Way’s work, AmeriCorps members are key to maximizing our impact. This is the perfect program for recent graduates, retirees, career changers and anyone who desires to serve as a catalyst for change.
Apply online at LIVEUNITEDchicago.org/careers
To learn more about the current members, please visit LIVEUNITEDchicago.org/AmeriCorps
Please see flyer for more information.
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership: Chicago Codes
- Free 10-week coding bootcamp in Python coding language
- Write original apps
- Receive one-on-one training with a career advisor to make the job search more effective
- Located at the Chatham Education & Workforce Center, 630 E.79th St., Chicago IL 60619
- Additional supports available
ELIGIBILITY and ASSESSMENT
- 18 years and older
- High School Diploma or GED
- Must complete online skills test to assess ability to learn and retain information relevant to coding
- Must successfully complete interview
- No prior coding experience required but successful candidates will be computer savvy and eager to pursue careers in programming and web development
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership & American Job Center Network: Opioid use is a public health crisis impacting communities everywhere. Learn how you can be a part of the effort to help communities heal & recover.
Have you, your family, or your community been impacted by the opioid crisis? This program offers services that connect you with opportunities in a variety of careers.
Do you feel a calling to work with those who are recovering from opioid dependence? Explore careers in substance abuse treatment & prevention.
Check out this flyer to learn more or call 708.589.7388 for more information from Employment & Employment Services (EE&S).
For All Illinoisans:
Resources and Supports for You and Your Family
The information compiled here will point you to a variety of available services and supports. We encourage you to take advantage of any opportunity to help ease the burdens associated with navigating the complexities and challenges we all face during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumer Safety Guide
Consumer Safety Guide was created to help keep the public informed about consumer dangers and safety issues associated with products currently on the market that can cause harm. Their website is constantly being updated with information on the most popular prescription medications and medical devices that have been linked to severe complications. Visit the Consumer Safety Guide website.
Food Availability Resources
- ISBE has obtained the USDA waiver to provide meals to all children under age 18 during school closures, including children under five. Families should call their local public school for more information. (3/13/2020)
- USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder - Find meals for kids when schools are closed
- Noble Network
- Chicago Park District
- Chicago Public Schools
- Since the temporary closure of our schools due to COVID-19, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has served millions of grab-and-go meals to families. CPS is committed to providing meals throughout the closure and the summer, and you can pick up meals at more than 270 schools, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Use the CPS Grab-and-Go Meal Site Finder or call 773.553.KIDS (5437) to find a location near you. View the flyer.
- South Suburban Cook County Food Assistance
- Find Your Local Food Bank (Feeding America) Assistance may also be available for free baby food, formula, and non-food staples such as diapers. Contact your local food bank to find out their resources for families with young children and infants.
- Illinois Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
- All students who qualify for free or reduced meals at school, regardless of status, are now eligible for the Illinois Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. If a family has a LINK card, these benefits will automatically be applied to their account; no need to call or apply. If a family does not have a LINK card, they can apply for this special program. Families can participate in both P-EBT and any meal distribution program that is currently available at their school; there is no need to choose one or the other. Click here for more information. This benefit is available regardless of immigration status and is not considered in the public charge test.
- To apply clients should visit www.ABE.illinois.gov or download a paper application at dhs.state.il.us and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Central Scan Unit, PO Box 19138, Springfield, IL 62763. For more information, review this guide.
- Greater Chicago Food Depository (Cook County) - 347 locations in Cook County. Use the map to find food near you.
- Remake the World - Every Saturday, Noon-2 p.m.: Come get a free bag of produce and meals and vibe to gospel house music!
Children's Health and Safety
- American Academy of Pediatrics - Routine health care is important. Children need their check-ups! English | Español
The Rental Assistance Program
The Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to Chicago residents, to prevent homelessness, to eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction in order to stabilize individuals and families in their existing rental unit.
All evictions/foreclosures have been suspended for at least 30 days in Cook County. This means that if you are unable to pay your rent, you cannot be evicted. Learn more about your rights as a tenant during the COVID-19 crisis in English and Spanish.
Shelter List provides a directory of shelters that offer assistance to the homeless.
Assistance for Households Impacted by COVID-19
- The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is launching a rent assistance program on August 10, 2020, to support individuals and families who have been unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19. Applications will be accepted through August 24, 2020. Click here for more information and to access application materials on rental assistance (once they are made available on Monday).
- The IHDA is also launching a mortgage assistance program; the anticipated launch date is August 24, 2020. Resources will be made available here on August 24, 2020.
Employment Resources During the Coronavirus
Immigrant Family Resources
Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP)- For information on whether you or your family may qualify for public benefits or other types of assistance please call the Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP) Hotline at 1-855-IFRP-NOW (1-855-437-7669). While the hotline had recordings in multiple languages to provide information on public benefits, due to COVID-19, the hotline will be staffed by a live intake worker Monday thru Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in 8 different languages; Spanish, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Polish, Russian , Vietnamese, English
Guidance On Chicago’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant
Orientación sobre el subsidio de asistencia para vivienda COVID-19
Support and Coping Resources
DFSS Community Service Centers
Community Service Centers help individuals and families in need access a wide range of resources from shelter, food and clothing to domestic violence assistance, drug rehab, job training and prisoner re-entry services.
Department of Family and Support Services
For Seniors Services/Home-Delivered Meals
Call (312) 744-4016, 9am to 5pm, Monday – Friday
Domestic Violence Hotline
The IL Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 via call or text
1(877) 863-6338 and TTY: 1(877) 863-6338
Other Public Programs
The USDA has begun to issue waivers to ease program operations and has expanded program eligibility. See the most up to date information regarding the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) including WIC and SNAP on the USDA website. https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19
Additionally, ComEd has announced that they will not be disconnecting services until June 1, extending the suspension of service disconnections for nonpayment & waiving of new late payment fees through at least 6/1.
Family Legacy Foundation is still here!
Like many of you, we have had to change the way that we provide services. Also, like many of you, we continue to seek to grow in our new “normal”. This is why it’s more important than ever that we all work together to expand our capacity and enrich the lives of those we serve. To this end, Family Legacy would like to extend our remote services to you and your constituents. To reciprocate, we would like to refer our clients for your services. Therefore, please let us know what services you/your organization are providing. Please use the attached Partner Organization Information form to describe your programs/services and contact information.
As a reminder, all services offered by Family Legacy are FREE! Remote services include:
Services for adults
- Literacy Tutoring
- GED Practice Testing
- College Exploration & Selection
- Admission Application
- Financial Aid Application
- Enrollment Assistance for potential students who have not been to college
- Re-enrollment Assistance for students who have been to college (includes students who have previous balances/holds)
- Student Loan Counseling (including default advising) Youth Services (ages 11-14)
- Virtual Summer Camp
We look forward to your response and working with you. Stay healthy & safe!
The Ounce Online Training Portal
Visit the Achieve OnDemand online training portal and take advantage of our comprehensive offering of self-paced trainings and webinars made just for home visiting professionals.