This Issue: Legislative Session Recap

On May 31st, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned its regular legislative session after passing a bipartisan FY19 state budget (see below). This year, several pieces of legislation on early childhood passed the General Assembly. You can read highlights below, but for more information, join IAFC for our Session Recap webinar on June 27th! Register here.

HB 4965: 12-Month Eligibility for Child Care Assistance Program

Rep. Wallace – Sen. Hutchinson

This bill extends the eligibility period for families in the Child Care Assistance Program CCAP from 6 months to 12 months – a critical change for Illinois to better support our families and regain its status as a leader in early childhood.

SB 1829: Alternative Qualifications for Preschool for All Teacher

Sen. Hutchinson – Rep. Gordon-Booth

This bill temporarily allows for alternative qualifications for Preschool for All (PFA) lead teachers, such as the Gateways ECE Level 5 Credential. The intent is for these teachers to complete their Professional Educators License (PEL) before the 5-year deadline, ultimately growing our pool of PEL teachers in early childhood.

SB 3536: Student Teaching in Community-Based Settings for Alternative Licensure Pathways

Rep. Hernandez – Sen. Collins

This bill builds off of SB 1829 by affording Gateways Level 5 teachers in community-based PFA programs the chance to secure a PEL through the alternative licensure program while staying in their current jobs. Current law limits supervision of candidates in the alternative licensure program to principals. The bill adds “or qualified equivalent” into statute, which would allow someone other than a principal to play a similar role for those working in community-based organizations.

To hear more about these pieces of legislation and how they impact children, families, and the early childhood field – register for our Session Recap webinar today!


FY 2019 State Budget Enacted

The FY19 state budget includes the following appropriation amounts for early childhood programs:

 

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) – Flat funding from FY18 total appropriation

  • Although funding is flat, it is enough to cover the following critical improvements:
    • 4.26% rate increase for all CCAP rate groups and provider types. This rate increase, built into the state budget, will move the state closer to the 75th percentile of market rate, as recommended by the federal government. This will also provide some relief to providers in regions with increased minimum wages, as well as those looking to invest in quality improvements.
    • 12-month eligibility for CCAP families, which promotes continuity of care for children and provides stability for families and early childhood programs. Legislation to implement 12-month eligibility (HB 4965) passed the General Assembly and is federally required
    • Growth in caseload to restore program to FY15 levels

Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) – $50 million increase over FY18 appropriation

  • $50 million increase not only meets our federal requirements for the Preschool Development Grant, it allows Illinois to better meet increased demand for ECBG funds across the state. For the FY19 ECBG grant process, ISBE has received requests totaling $144 million more than the FY18 funding level.

Early Intervention (EI) – Flat funding from FY18 appropriation

  • Level funding allows the state to maintain EI services for infants and toddlers with development delays

IDHS Home Visiting – Flat funding from FY18 appropriation

  • Level funding will allow these programs to continue recovering from the budget impasse

Early Childhood Capital Grants – $7.2 million re-appropriated to previous grant awardees

  • These capital improvement grants were awarded several years ago, but during the budget impasse, early childhood programs did not receive their grants. This re-appropriation will get these programs the money they are owed to finish their improvement projects.

These investments in the early childhood system are critical to the state’s ability to move the field forward and implement our priorities.

Want more information on the budget and new legislation passed this year? Sign up today for IAFC’s Session Recap webinar on June 27th!


Early Childhood Block Grant Awardees

With the FY19 budget enacted, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has awarded grants for Preschool for All, Preschool for All Expansion, and Prevention Initiative programs for the upcoming fiscal year. The lists of awardees can be found at the links below:

Preschool for All
Preschool for All Expansion
Prevention Initiative


City of Chicago – Universal Pre-K

At the end of May, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his commitment to provide every 4-year old in Chicago access to free, full-day preschool. Mayor Emanuel’s plan would include adding between 3,000-5,000 new slots each year until 2021, when the goal is to have 24,000 slots for 4-year olds (currently about 15,000).

Next fall, the City plans to serve an additional 3,700 children and open 180 new full-day 4-year old classrooms.

Click here to read more about Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious plan for universal 4-year old preschool.


Report: No Decisions About Us, Without Us

report Illinois Action for Children has released a new report with our partners at COFI on the impact of parent leaders on early learning collaborations that are truly responsive to the needs of diverse families and communities. Read the report here.