CHICAGO – The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to providing high-quality early childhood experiences for children in poverty, applauds the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner for passing and signing the FY2019 Illinois State Budget. This news comes well in advance of the new fiscal year – July 1, 2018 – and includes increased or level funding for several early learning programs.
“After several years of uncertainty, it’s incredibly important that the legislature and governor came together to pass a budget that provides stability to Illinois children, their families, and the providers of critical early childhood interventions,” said Ireta Gasner, vice president, Illinois Policy at the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
The budget, which was developed and passed with bipartisan support, 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.
- Re-appropriation of $7.2 million in early childhood capital funds that lapsed during the budget impasse; these funds now allow 14 early childhood construction and renovation projects to be completed.
And, level funding for the following programs:
- Evidence-based home visiting for expectant and new parents in the Department of Human Services.
- 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.
- Early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays.
“The Ounce applauds the Illinois General Assembly, its leaders and the governor for working together to provide a full-year, fully-funded budget,” Gasner said. “These investments are critical supports that will benefit Illinois’ youngest and their families, giving children the best chance at success in school and in life.”
About the Ounce of Prevention Fund
The Ounce of Prevention Fund is a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to providing all children particularly those in poverty, with quality early childhood experiences from birth to age five. The Ounce develops programs, conducts research, trains practitioners and advocates for early childhood education. Learn more at www.theounce.org. For more information contact Kim Ptak at firstname.lastname@example.org.