Illinois increases early childhood education funding by $54M

Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education(MGN)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 12:02 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Gov.Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced Thursday the allocation of a $54 million increase in funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant as authorized by the governor in the FY2023 state budget.

According to the governor’s office, the funds, which reflect a 10% increase in the overall Early Childhood Block Grant budget, will serve 4,500 additional Illinois students, adding to the more than 112,190 children who receive early childhood learning supports through state-funded programs.

“Supporting children from pregnancy to toddlerhood to preschool is one of my administration’s top priorities,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “And in Illinois, every child deserves an equal opportunity to learn and succeed, regardless of their family’s socio-economic status. So we are investing millions to strengthen our early childhood education system—empowering families, teachers, and childcare workers to build the foundation for the next generation of young Illinoisans. Here’s to making Illinois the best state in the nation to raise a family.”

The governor’s office reported the grant expansion supports programs including Preschool for All, home visiting services, cost of living increases for teachers, and support programs for expectant mothers and those with children ages 0-3.

The $54 million increase will allow Illinois to increase the number of children participating in all programs by an estimated 4,500 students.

  • Approximately 3,000 additional students will receive Preschool for All programming, bringing to almost 8,400 children.
  • Nearly 500 additional students will enter into full-day Preschool for All Expansion programs, doubling the program’s capacity.
  • Around 250 children and families will receive Home Visiting Services through the Prevention Initiative. Currently, the program serves over 12,200 children and their families annually.
  • All current and new Home Visiting programs will be eligible for funding to provide doula services to support expectant parents before and during birth.
  • Approximately 350 additional children will receive Center-Based Prevention Initiative Services, bringing the number served to 7435.

“High-quality early childhood services are essential for children to get a strong start in life,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Illinois’ state-funded early childhood programs provide free, evidence-based care and education for young children, so they start school ready to learn. This $54 million increase in state funding will boost access and equity, allowing Illinois to reach thousands more children and families. This year, new grant dollars raise compensation for early childhood educators in community-based programs and provide funding for doula services in eligible home visiting programs.”

The governor’s office stated in addition to funding allocated to increase program capacity, the increase will support a 5% cost of living increase for all teachers at community-based programs. The increase will maintain the infrastructure for programs including professional development, technical assistance, training, and other essential functions.

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