Apply for the Teach Plus Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellowship!
Applications are now open for the 2021-2022 Teach Plus Illinois Early Childhood Educator Policy Fellowship. This highly selective leadership opportunity is for outstanding Illinois early childhood educators looking to deepen their knowledge of education policy and gain a voice in decisions that affect students and the early childhood profession.
Early childhood educators will expand their influence without leaving the classroom and receive a $1,600 stipend for their commitment. No prior policy experience is required to apply for this fellowship. Applications are due by April 25, 2021. Please reach out to Sinthu Ramalingam at email@example.com with any questions.
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.
Quarterly Meeting for Mental Health Consultants
GOECD and INCCRRA have set up a quarterly call to offer Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants (I/ECMHC) a chance to meet with fellow consultants. The Illinois field of I/ECMHC is evolving towards a more systematic approach to sharing information, connecting with colleagues, and learning about professional development opportunities. GOECD and INCCRRA will be facilitating quarterly calls for independent and program-embedded consultants and their supervisors across the State and across child-serving systems (Early Intervention, Home Visiting, Early Head Start/Head Start, Preschool For All/Prevention Initiative (PFA/PI), and Child Care). If you are an I/ECMHC consultant, please plan to join this call for your opportunity to:
- Meet with the team that is working to support you
- Connect with your peers
- Learn more about system efforts in Illinois
The first quarterly meeting took place in January, and the second of these quarterly meetings is scheduled via Zoom in April.
Thursday, April 29, 2021
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Register to attend: https://www.cvent.com/d/4jq28n
Registration deadline: Monday, April 26.
Zoom link to be provided to all registrants via email by April 28.
The link will be emailed to participants registered in the Gateways Registry. Please note: to attend this call, you must be registered in Gateways.
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.
Leading from Home: Investing in Home-based Child Care Initiative
From Home Grown - Too often systems do not engage providers/caregivers and parents in decision making. Home Grown believes it is critical to engage providers and parents in policy change and support the leadership of providers and their ability to influence policy and systems. The launch of the Leading from Home Initiative will help support the work of provider leaders in their communities throughout the country.
Home Grown is seeking providers and caregivers who lead informal networks of other providers/caregivers. This initiative will support selected providers/caregivers to grow and empower their networks and make positive change for home-based child care. Home Grown will provide monthly stipends for selected provider/caregiver leaders, with additional funding available to support network activities and expenses. Home Grown will also match provider/caregiver leaders with technical assistance to assist in goal setting and building capacity around policy strategy, strategic communication and engagement.
Licensed family child care (FCC) providers and family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers are encouraged to apply. Information and applications are available in English and Spanish. Applications are due March 19, 2021.
For those who want to spread the word about this opportunity, Home Grown has created a Digital Social Media Kit for your use.
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.).
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.
Illinois Task Force Report on Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans
Maternal and infant mortality and morbidity are significant indicators of national health. In the most recent estimates available, Illinois reports a pregnancy-related mortality rate of 23 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, a severe maternal morbidity rate of 51.4 per 10,000 births, and an infant mortality rate of 6.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, ranking 36th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. In all of these categories, non-Hispanic Black/African American mothers and infants die or are injured at significantly higher rates than their non-Hispanic, White counterparts. Systemic racism in health care and chronic health conditions negatively impact infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.
In July 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 101-0028, creating the Illinois Task Force on Infant and Maternal Mortality among African Americans Act. The Task Force was charged with working to identify and to present key strategies to decrease infant and maternal mortality among African Americans in Illinois. In its initial annual report, the Task Force presents recommendations related to provider education, telehealth, birthing centers, postpartum Medicaid reimbursement, doula certification and coverage, and support from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
The Pritzker Administration, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), has launched a new initiative to help Illinois families access and afford home energy assistance and other essential services during COVID-19. Building on the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, the State’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) budget authorizes an expansion of the LIHEAP and CSBG programs for eligible Illinoisans seeking emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food, and other household necessities.
Effective immediately, the Help Illinois Families initiative is implementing an online pre-application form to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to start the application process remotely and to determine eligibility for LIHEAP and/or CSBG services. Increased eligibility thresholds for FY21 aims to assist additional households needing support due to challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.
This initiative remains available for all qualifying low-income households, regardless of how they may be affected COVID-19. Eligible families may qualify for hundreds of dollars of support; all applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. Click here for the LIHEAP Fact Sheet.
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.
For All Illinoisans:
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.
Reducing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids—founded in 1996—is a membership organization comprised of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement executives, and violence survivors comprise the membership of Fight Crime. Fight Crime members have seen the benefits that evidence-based home visiting programs can provide. A summary of the report highlights that these programs provide, “'parent coaching' from a trained professional, starting as early as pregnancy and extending into the first few years of a child’s life—years during which the human brain goes through its most rapid development and is most vulnerable to the negative repercussions of adverse experiences. Through periodic home visits, parents are equipped with the tools and skills they need to stimulate and nurture their child’s development and avoid harmful parenting practices." Click here to read the full report.
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.
Illinois’ Response to COVID-19
The State of Illinois is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways. This page will be updated as new programs and policies are modified and/or introduced. We also invite you to stay up-to-date with child care and early education policy information with our monthly e-newsletter, eAdvocate. Sign up!
Get Your Stimulus Check!
Most Illinoisans are eligible for Economic Impact Payments from the federal government. Even if you have no income you are eligible, but you might have to take action to receive your check.
You could receive up to $1,200 ($2,400 for a married couple) and $500 for each eligible dependent. This site will help take you through each step so you can get your payment as quickly as possible.
Emergency SNAP Allotments
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is issuing emergency SNAP (LINK) supplements to more than 450,000 SNAP households to help buy food during the pandemic crisis. Fact sheets available in English and Spanish.
COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. Learn more.
Latest Illinois Executive Orders Related to COVID-19
- Executive Order Number 15
SUSPENDS PROVISIONS IN THE ILLINOIS SCHOOL CODE — Suspends requirements on the administration of assessments, school terms, and the calculation of daily pupil attendance. Allows ISBE to implement rules regarding remote learning. Permits the use of early childhood block grant funding to provide child care for children of employees performing essential work. Any bids received by a school district for construction purposes may be communicated and accepted electronically.
Executive Order 2020-15 (HTML) (English) (Arabic) (Polish) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Hindi)
- Executive Order Number 12
SUSPENDS HEALTHCARE WORKER'S BACKGROUND CHECKS Individuals who are certified as a nurse assistant, but are currently inactive on the Health Care Worker Registry, may be hired under certain provisions, such as the inactive status being no more than five years and limiting conditional employment to three months pending the result of a more extensive background check.
Executive Order 2020-12 (HTML) (English)
- Executive Order Number 11
ESSENTIAL HUMAN SERVICES OPERATIONS — Individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain any Human Services Operations, such as adoption agencies, long-term care facilities, residential settings for individuals with disabilities and day care centers for children of essential employees. Illinois school districts do not need approval by the school board for an e-learning curriculum.
Executive Order 2020-11 (HTML) (English) (Arabic) (Polish) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Hindi)
- Executive Order Number 10
STAY AT HOME — All individuals must stay at home, with exceptions for essential activities, essential government functions, and essential businesses and operations. All non-essential business and operations must cease, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. Business can continue with employees working from home. Local government units across the state must halt all evictions, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
Executive Order 2020-10 (HTML) (English) (Arabic) (Polish) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Hindi)
View all Executive Orders related to COVID-19