What We Champion

In Illinois and in states across the country, the Ounce advocates for early childhood education programs that are proven to be effective in narrowing the achievement gap and that support the healthy development of vulnerable young children.

We promote policies that:

  • Expand access to high-quality early childhood education programs
  • Build sustainable early childhood systems supported by private-public partnerships
  • Emphasize parents as children’s first teachers
  • Ensure programs are staffed by a well-trained workforce
  • Tend to the physical, cognitive and social-emotional needs of young children

Read more about the priorities that guide our work:


Our efforts have helped establish Illinois as a leader among states in demonstrating financial commitment to birth to five services. We’ve improved systems integration, strengthened the early childhood workforce, and increased access to learning experiences for the underserved and children in poverty. We engage both communities and committees to ensure that early childhood remains a vital part of any discussion about education, health, and families.

Learn more about new Illinois legislation affecting children and families by reading our legislative summary. Read about the latest early childhood policies we support in our legislative agenda. Then get involved by attending our annual Early Childhood Advocacy Day event held in Springfield.


Beyond Illinois, we support state advocates, leaders, agencies, and local communities through substantive and strategic assistance on early childhood issues. The Ounce currently works with public and private sector leaders in 20 states on systems-building, mental health support, home visiting, professional development and other key areas of a quality early childhood education.