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.
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.
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 All Early Care & Education Providers
The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations released The Leadership Team's Guide for Re-Opening Programs, which includes considerations for supporting programs and school staff, children, and families; considerations for classroom environments; and considerations for promoting social-emotional skills, preventing challenging behavior, and responding to children when challenging behavior occurs.
Beat the Heat in Chicago!
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, along with officials from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS), Chicago Park District, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and other City departments and sister agencies have made significant advancements to ensure that more than 200 citywide cooling resources are available in the City's response plan to extreme-heat weather conditions.
For Home Child Care Providers Who Want to Offer Emergency Care to Essential Workers
Emergency Child Care will follow newly developed guidelines informed by CDC guidelines and best practices for caring for children. All persons providing care for children in an emergency setting are required to have a current background check.
Effective March 21, 2020 and for as long as the public health emergency continues, licensed and licensed-exempt child care homes may serve up to six(6) children of essential workers as a legally license-exempt home. These services should be provided only when essential workers have no other options available. The goal is for everyone, including children, to practice social distancing and stay at home whenever possible.
No application or registration is required to continue operation, but homes choosing to remain open to serve essential workers must:
Click here to let the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) system know that you are offering emergency child care for children of essential workers. This way, they can connect families needing care to available care.
- Licensed Homes MUST SIGN the attendance exemption form AND attach the signed form to your certificate in order to paid for all eligible days during COV-ID 19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Temporary Attendance Exemption Policy and Form– The Illinois Department of Human Services has issued a Temporary Attendance Exemption Policy to encourage subsidized child care programs to provide services during unforeseen, extraordinary circumstances and to lessen the financial impact of those events which are beyond the control of the programs to include; licensed child care centers, licensed child care home, license-exempt centers, and license-exempt homes may apply for an attendance exemption when an extraordinary event is responsible for substantially less than normal attendance. By claiming an exemption, the provider attests staff will continue to be paid for all scheduled work hours regardless of closure or reduction in services. En Español.
Illinois Action for Children understands the numerous hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working with the city, state, and a host of local agencies to provide you with information, resources, and guidance for child care and other resources as we navigate this public health crisis. Please be sure to check out the funding and grants information.
If you are serving primarily low-income families, currently have a contract with the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services, and would like to apply for a grant to support your operations contact them.
In-person Provider Training
All in-person trainings scheduled through April 30, 2020, are cancelled. Registration for the Spring 2020 session has been postponed until further notice. Please visit the INCCRRA website to participate in trainings online. (A computer and internet service are required for the Gateways i-learning System.)
If you have questions regarding provider trainings please contact us.
Consultation, Technical Assistance, Home-Visiting, Etc.
All face-to-face outreach services, trainings, technical assistance, field visits/monitoring, and home visiting activities are discontinued until further notice.
- Alternative methods will be used to keep in contact and support parent and providers needing our services (i.e. online/web training, consultation service by phone, information by email).
If you have any questions regarding consultation, training, or technical assistance, please call 773.564.8804 and leave a detailed message. An IAFC staff member will reach out to you as soon as possible.
If you have any questions regarding home visiting services, please call 708.365.1500 and leave a detailed message. An IAFC staff member will reach out to you as soon as possible.
Resources for Food Assistance
Illinois Action for Children’s Healthy Food Program – Participants in the program receive monthly reimbursement payments for serving children in their care healthy meals and snacks.