Winter 2015 - Ounce of Prevention Fund

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theOunce.org
In This Issue
Legislative Session
Begins
Ounce of Prevention
Fund's Legislative
Priorities
New US Congress
New Federal Grants
for Illinois
Ounce Hosts New
Legislator Event
Events, Resources
and Reports
Video
Watch our video to see
how early learning
programs help young
children build strong
social-emotional skills.
Parent and Teacher
Legislative Session Begins as Budget Shortfalls
Impact Young Children
The 99th Illinois General Assembly was sworn in on January 14,
preceded days earlier by the inauguration of constitutional officers,
including the new governor.
The new General Assembly and governor enter office during an
extremely difficult time. The impact of an “incomplete” FY2015
budget has begun to affect many programs including early learning
programs and the FY2016 budget planning has been made more
difficult by a $5.4 billion decrease in revenue due to the January 1,
2015 expiration of the temporary income tax increase.
The impact of the incomplete FY2015 budget is being severely felt
in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which assists lowincome working families to access affordable quality child care
services. The FY2015 budget funded CCAP below FY2014 levels,
far below the levels needed to maintain the current services. This
underfunding, along with complications regarding the prolonged
implementation of a new eligibility system, has created a serious
deficit, and as a result, the system is projected to be $300 million
short of the much needed funding by June 30, 2015. Furthermore, all
state funds for the program have already been exhausted leaving
only federal funds, which cover less than half of the monthly bills.
The Early Intervention (EI) program, which provides screening and
developmental services to infants and toddlers with developmental
delays, is also short of funds to complete the 2015 fiscal year. While
estimates range, it is feared that there could be a shortfall of $20
million for this essential program.
On Thursday, February 5, the senate appropriations I committee,
which helps craft the Department of Human Services’ budget,
Resources
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convened a hearing to discuss the child care budget crisis. Parents,
providers, law enforcement and business leaders provided testimony
regarding the importance of child care assistance to working, lowincome families in our state. State Sen. Heather Steans, chair of the
committee said, "Losing access to child care is not just a budget
crisis; it’s an urgent human and economic crisis. Failure to fill the
funding gap will force many parents to quit their jobs or put their
education on hold, increase reliance on other forms of government
assistance and keep at-risk children out of high-quality early
learning programs.”
Budget officials from the Rauner administration stated that child
care is considered an essential state service. Negotiations are
currently underway between the administration and General
Assembly to reach an agreement on what additional authority the
governor may need to resolve the child care deficit, as well as other
deficits. Senators reiterated the urgency of the child care problem for
parents and providers, and urged a quick resolution, even if other
negotiations are ongoing. The Ounce of Prevention Fund and our
early childhood advocate partners continue to press both the General
Assembly and Gov. Rauner to make additional funds available to
protect these important services. The governor will unveil his
FY2016 Illinois state budget proposal on February 18, 2015 at
noon. The speech can be viewed live.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund's FY2016 Illinois
Legislative Priorities
The Ounce has released its FY2016 legislative agenda. Despite the
difficult fiscal climate, the Ounce will advocate for significant
increases in early childhood programs—including the Early
Childhood Block Grant at the Illinois State Board of Education, as
well as Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon home visiting
programs, CCAP and EI, all housed at the Department of Human
Services. Program cuts and stagnant funding since 2009 have
hampered efforts by these programs to provide more children with
the opportunity for high-quality early learning experiences and
hindered the programs’ ability to deepen their quality efforts. We
know that all of these programs are important to a well-coordinated
early learning system—none of which can be successful in its efforts
alone. The Ounce will advocate for increased funding for these key
early learning services, as well as the needed revenue to pay for
these investments.
Further, we know that young children and their families also need
access to comprehensive services in order to be prepared for success
in school and life, including health care and social-emotional and
mental health supports. The Ounce will fight to protect these needed
investments as well.
New US Congress Seated
In Washington, DC, a new Congress was sworn-in with a few
changes to the Illinois delegation in the US House of
Representatives. As work gets underway on the federal budget, the
president’s proposed federal FY2016 budget contains significant
increases in early childhood funding, including increased funding
for preschool expansion grants, and an increase in funding for Head
Start/Early Head Start and child care services. His budget proposal
also calls for an end to sequestration cuts and for the elimination of
budget caps, which have made new investments in early learning
difficult over the past few years. The federal budget process will
play out over several months, and early learning advocates will
continue to fight for these priorities.
Of immediate importance is the reauthorization of the Maternal,
Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which
is set to expire March 31. MIECHV has brought nearly $31 million
in home visiting funding to Illinois. It was reauthorized in 2014, as
part of a larger piece of legislation, for an additional year. Advocates
will once again work with Congress to reauthorize MIECHV for as
long as possible to help provide greater stability to participants and
programs across Illinois.
New Federal Grants for Illinois
Awarded in December 2014, the Illinois Preschool Expansion
Grant will build on the Preschool for All model by expanding and
sustaining high-quality preschool programs that reach and serve
high-risk, 4-year-old children. The expansion grant will target
children with the highest needs and multiple risk factors and
introduce 2,600 new and 680 enhanced slots in 18 targeted
communities throughout Illinois.
The grant will expand current Preschool For All components by
adding community-based collaboration to ensure a smooth transition
from pre-k to kindergarten; mental health consultation to programs;
intensive family engagement opportunities that are culturally and
linguistically responsive; and on-site or accessible comprehensive
services for families (such as physical, developmental, and socialemotional screenings; nutrition services; service coordination with
Early Intervention and special education; and at least 60 minutes of
physical activity per day).
As a part of the grant, the state laid out a plan to provide additional
state resources to early learning as well, which would affect children
and families statewide. In FY2016, an additional $50 million in state
funding to the Early Childhood Block Grant would restore the most
recent cuts to providers statewide, bringing their funding back to
FY2012 levels. It would provide additional funds for infant and
toddler services and fund some additional enhanced Preschool for
All slots that could not be funded by the federal grant.
For more information, visit the US Department of Education.
Also announced in December 2014, the Department of Health and
Human Services awarded Early Head Start/Child Care
Partnership grants to four communities in Illinois: the City of
Chicago, Joliet, Maywood, and Rockford. These grants allow new or
existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care
centers and family child care providers by providing a full-day, fullyear program that will serve infants and toddlers from low-income
families.
The grants set requirements for teacher qualifications and
certifications, and offer increased professional development
opportunities for teachers, as well as ensure that programs provide
comprehensive services that benefit children and families, including:
health, developmental and behavioral screenings; high health, safety
and nutrition standards; and increased parent engagement
opportunities.
For more information, visit the US Department of Health and
Human Services.
Ounce Hosts Educational Event for New
Lawmakers at Early Learning Program
The Ounce welcomed new members of the Illinois General
Assembly, Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and other elected officials on
January 26 at Educare West DuPage. Lawmakers were provided the
opportunity to see first-hand the importance of early learning.
The elected officials toured the Educare School and heard from
Anne Tuohy and Raul Raymundo, co-chairs of the Public Affairs
Committee of the Ounce Board of Directors, West Chicago Mayor
Ruben Pineda and representatives from West Chicago School
District 33. Eugenie Lee Matula, the school’s executive director,
shared with the group how high-quality early learning programs
such as Educare benefit young children and their families. During
the event, Ounce staff also discussed the history of early childhood
education in Illinois and the state’s current child care funding
crisis—outlining opportunities and priorities for improving early
learning statewide.
Events, Resources and Reports
Registration is Now Open for Early Childhood Advocacy Day
2015!
The Ounce will host its annual Early Childhood Advocacy Day on
Tuesday, April 28 in Springfield. This free event will allow
participants to advocate for young children and their families and
provide an opportunity to network with colleagues across the
state. Advocates will learn about current legislative and budget
issues surrounding Preschool for All, home visiting, child care and
Early Intervention. Providers, home visitors, teachers, parents, and
supporters are encouraged to attend. Lunch and training will be
provided. Register today or email us.
18th Annual Infant Toddler Conference: Honor the First Three
Years of Life
The 2015 Conference will be Saturday, March 7 at Oakton
Community College, Des Plaines Campus. Registration fee is $40,
and the registration deadline is March 2. The conference will focus
on how to support early growth, so that infants and toddlers thrive in
their environments. There will be several workshops throughout the
event that will highlight ways participants can support early growth
so that infants and toddlers thrive in the environments created for
them.
For more information and to register visit Oakton Community
College.
Presented by Oakton Community College in collaboration with The
Ounce of Prevention Fund and Children’s Home + Aid.
Recommendations Regarding Preschool Expulsion and
Suspension
The US Department of Education and US Department of Health and
Human Services recently issued a joint policy statement regarding
guidelines around expulsion and suspension in preschool settings. In
response to the data, which details high expulsion and suspension
rates especially along race and gender lines, the departments provide
recommendations to support families, early childhood programs and
states.
2015 Leadership ConnectionsTM National Conference
McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National
Louis University is hosting the 2015 Leadership Connections™
National Conference from May 13-May 16, at the Westin Chicago
North Shore in Wheeling, IL. Register for preconference sessions,
single-day attendance or for the full conference. The conference will
offer an exceptional professional development experience
where participants can network, learn, network, and celebrate.
Leadership Connections is a Gateways to Opportunity Registry
Verified Conference. Also, three of the preconference sessions and
two sessions from the Instructional Excellence track count toward
ExceleRate™ Illinois required sessions.
To learn more about the conference and register, visit McCormick
Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University.
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