The Illinois General Assembly passed the FY2019 Illinois state budget! The governor has indicated he will sign the budget into law in the coming days. This news comes well in advance of the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2018. The budget, which was developed and passed on a bipartisan basis, provides significant funding for early childhood, including:
- $50 million increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant at the Illinois State Board of Education to expand and improve birth-to-five early childhood services.
- Level funding for evidence-based home visiting programs for expectant and new parents through Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon in the Department of Human Services.
- Level funding for the Child Care Assistance Program, which should be sufficient to implement 12-month eligibility periods and provide an increase in the rates paid to both home- and center-based child care providers.
- Level funding for Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays.
- Re-appropriation of $7.2 million in early childhood capital funds that had lapsed during the budget impasse, allowing 14 early childhood construction and renovation projects to be completed.
In addition to the above investments, a number of important early childhood bills passed during this session, including:
- HB4965 moves the time for redetermination of eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program from 6 months to 12 months, to provide more stability for children in their care setting.
- SB1829 provides a five-year, time-limited solution to the Preschool for All (PFA) teacher shortage by allowing Gateways Level 5-credentialed teachers to teach in PFA classrooms.
- SB3536 will create the opportunity for PFA teachers in community-based settings to gain entry into alternative licensure programs to work toward their teacher licenses.
These bills will now head to the governor’s desk for his consideration, and we will update you when action is taken.
Ounce of Prevention Fund applauds the Illinois General Assembly, its leaders and the governor for working together to develop a full-year, fully-funded budget that invests in these critical supports for Illinois’ youngest children and their families. Please join us in thanking them for their support of early childhood this session.