Tell us how the budget impasse is affecting critical early learning services.
Budget stories in the media
Joliet Herald News: Local agencies sound off on state shutdown
Progress Illinois: Illinois Nonprofits
Call For 'Fully-Funded' State
Chicago Tribune Community
Section: LCFS Joins More than 300
Nonprofits in Calling for Fair, Fullyfunded State Budget
The Pantagrpah: Agencies reduce staff, services to families amid budget impasse
No notable progress has been made since we last updated you on the status of the
FY2016 state budget
— when the governor signed one part of the
P-12 education budget but vetoed the balance of it, including the bill funding the
Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Early Intervention
(EI), Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon home visiting.
Until the governor and General Assembly can agree on the
FY2016 budget, funding for critical state and early learning programs is at risk, placing families across the state at risk, too. Changes to the CCAP program, which became effective July 1, 2015, make it extremely difficult for lowincome working families to be eligible for and afford the program. These changes are causing hardship for working families as well as for early childhood programs, particularly as staff are working to recruit and enroll new children as others are transitioning to kindergarten.
Across the state, organizations providing services on behalf of the state are wrestling with uncertainty. In some cases, services have been suspended and staff are being laid off. This impact is being felt in early childhood, in home visiting and in EI. Recently more than 300 non-profit
Watch our video to see how early learning programs help young children build strong social and emotional skills.
Parent and Teacher
Read our recent articles about preparing your child for quality early learning programs.
Advocacy Action Center
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organizations, including the Ounce, signed a letter to the governor and the leaders of the four legislative caucuses, urging an end to the budget standoff.
Please complete our survey and help us tell the story of how this devastating gridlock is affecting children, families, communities, and the organizations that provide critical early education services. The information gathered through this survey will be shared with lawmakers, the governor’s office and the media to help ensure that your stories of impact are heard by those with the power to bring this impasse to an end.
Nearly 500 bills passed both the House and Senate during this spring’s General Assembly session, with most of those awaiting action by the governor. While we will release our full Legislative Summary (see last year’s summary ) in the fall, here’s a preview of some legislation that might be of interest:
HB1360 : An initiative of the Chicago Medical-Legal
Partnership for Children , this legislation ensures better health and safety for all students by requiring charter schools to comply with all health and safety requirements applicable to public schools under state law. Lead sponsors are Rep. Robyn Gabel and Sen. Daniel Biss.
HB2683 : An initiative of the Illinois State Board of
Education , this proposal creates a Balanced Accountability
Measure, which will factor various measures of performance/practice into the district’s overall accountability score. HB 2683’s professional practice metrics would apply to the K-2 grades and will directly influence school and district accountability ratings. This change provides incentives for local leaders to focus improvement efforts on kindergarten through 2nd grade, invest in new early learning, and partner with communitybased early learning providers in the community. This approach also provides the opportunity for alignment with early learning quality improvement efforts. Lead sponsors are Rep. Will Davis and Sen. William Delgado.
HB2812 : An initiative of EverThrive Illinois , this legislation ensures that Medicaid Managed Care Entities (MCEs) do not send an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for sensitive services (e.g. mental health services, substance abuse treatment services) in order to protect their members’ confidentiality and reduce barriers to accessing care. This is already the practice in traditional, fee-for-service
Medicaid, but with the growth of care coordination, the legislation ensures equal protections for those in managed care. Lead sponsors are Rep. Christian Mitchell and Sen.
SB1410 : An initiative of EverThrive Illinois , this legislation creates a Certificate of Religious Exemption for parents/guardians that want to exempt their child from school-required vaccines on religious grounds. The bill does not change a parent’s right to claim a religious exemption, but the certificate will require a signature of the child’s physician affirming they have provided information to the parents on the health consequences of the exemption. Lead sponsors are Sen. John Mulroe and
Rep. Robyn Gabel.
SB1847 : An initiative of the Sargent Shriver National
Center on Poverty Law and the Heartland Alliance , this legislation works to improve access to federally-funded food assistance for low-income families. The bill increases
Illinois’ gross income limit for SNAP eligibility from 130% to 165% FPL and is estimated to provide an additional $60 million in federal funds into the hands of consumers.
Ninety percent of the households estimated to benefit from this change are working families and more than 80% are households with children. Lead sponsors are Sen.
Daniel Biss and Rep. Robyn Gabel.
More than 200 advocates from across Illinois – including providers, teachers, early interventionists, home visitors, parents, and students – participated in our Early Childhood
Advocacy Day on April 28 in Springfield. This year’s theme was “Inspiring Minds. Changing Lives.” Constituents engaged with several legislators, including House Speaker
Michael Madigan, sharing personal stories and experiences to urge them to support early childhood programs and critical services.
The day started off with motivating speeches from state
Rep. Tom Demmer and state Sen. Dan Kotowski. Next, a parent speaker from Schaumburg Community
Consolidated School District 54 shared her uplifting story about the impact early childhood programs have had on her family and children. Several participants were able to tour the House floor with their representative. Many returning advocates commented that this was one of the most successful Early Childhood Advocacy Days they had attended. And new this year, participants were able to take photos in front of a step-and-repeat. This allowed for larger interaction and group photos to document the day.
View photos and videos from this year’s successful event.
The Health subcommittee of the Systems, Integration and
Alignment Committee of the Governor’s Office of Early
Childhood Development Early Learning Council released health recommendations earlier this year. This comprehensive document offers strategies for integrating health into early care and education systems. Further, it cites the role early care and education providers play in the health and well-being of children in their care, whether in licensed home- or center-based care, early intervention or home visiting programs. The final report represents over two years of work by the subcommittee, and input was provided by numerous stakeholders and experts from the health field and early childhood education.
The recommendations are divided into eight sections on chronic health conditions and immunizations; developmental and social-emotional screenings; obesity prevention; oral health; parental depression; physical health screenings; SIDS, SBS and product safety; and trauma, child abuse, neglect and domestic violence. The recommendations are further broken down by actor, category, and top priority. There are several items that are
noted as a quick gain because of the current momentum and priorities in Illinois.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund has partnered with
Children’s Home + Aid for Project Link, a two-year federal demonstration project in which an analysis was conducted of more than 350 child welfare cases of children ages 0 to
5 in three neighboring Chicago communities. The first brief produced, Advancing Home Visiting as a Strategy to
Improve Outcomes for Children Involved in Child Welfare , relates how home visiting and child welfare programs can work together to enhance outcomes for children.
Draft policy statement of Inclusion of children with disabilities
On May 15 the US Department of Education (ED) and
Department of Health and Human Services (HS), released a draft policy statement for the inclusion of children with disabilities . The public comment period was open through
May 2015. Although the newest document has not been released, the draft statement includes several important issues. The statement first notes that there have been significant gaps in the inclusion of children with disabilities and special needs in the realm of early education. The policy statement provides a definition of inclusion for children with special needs. The document also provides legal and scientific reasoning for inclusion. And lastly, the document provides recommendations for early childhood systems.
Head Start Program Performance Standards: Proposed
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed the reorganization of the Head Start
Program Performance Standards , the first since they were originally published in 1975. This public comment period is
your opportunity to influence the final Head Start Program
The Office of Head Start is accepting comments on the
Notice of Proposed Rule Making between Friday, June 19 and Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015.
Instructions are available online on how to submit comments. Please note the current Performance
Standards will remain in effect until a final rule is issued.
Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) public
comment period open
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act was signed into law in November of 2014. This law made significant changes to the Child Care and Development
Fund (CCDF) Program to protect the health and safety of children in child care, promote continuity of access to subsidy for low-income families, better inform parents and the general public about the child care choices available to them, and improve the overall quality of early learning and afterschool programs.
The Administration for Children and Families released a revised CCDF State Plan at the end of last month and gave the opportunity for a second period of comments, which ends July 27, 2015.
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