(WSIL) — Governor JB Pritzker announced $1.6 billion in federal aid to expand access to high quality early childhood education and child care for children and families across the state.
$140 million is direct grants to childcare providers over the next three weeks, adding to the $290 million granted to child care providers earlier in the pandemic.
“Today I’m pleased to announce that Illinois will receive $1.6 billion in federal funding to advance our mission to provide affordable childcare and early childhood education. Last year, my administration created the nation-leading model for pandemic emergency childcare grants,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In the worst throes of the pandemic, Illinois dedicated $290 million to 5,000 childcare centers and homes in 95 counties, allowing them to stay afloat through this challenging year, and offered additional support far beyond the national standard. And families in need of childcare were able to lower their out of pocket cost. The program has been so successful that we will use the first of these new American Rescue Plan dollars to provide another round of funding for it.”
Based on a report from the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding (Commission), over the next 18 months the Pritzker administration will launch a network of early-childhood planning councils in communities across the state.
The councils will work with families, local early childhood providers, schools, civic leaders, and the business community to ensure every community in the state has the unique early childhood services it needs.
The administration is also creating a new Division of Early Childhood to be housed in the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The new division will strengthen and centralize the state’s existing childcare, home visiting and early intervention services within the agency.
In the coming months and years, the State of Illinois will work towards establishing a system that is: easier for parents to navigate, simpler and provides more predictable funding for early childhood programs and is responsive to local needs in communities across the state. For more information on childhood services in Illinois, go to the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development website.