Applications for the first round of the Smart Start Transition Grants are now open until July 31! These grants are administered by INCCRRA and will transition licensed child care programs from the Strengthen and Grow Child Care grants to Smart Start Child Care in the future. Smart Start Transition Grants focus on providing stable and predictable funding to improve quality and support workforce development.
Go to the website for details, tip sheets, technical assistance videos, and more. If you have questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECACE Scholarship Applications: Open Now
If you work or have worked in early childhood education and you're seeking additional credentials and/or a degree in early childhood education, you may be eligible for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program. ECACE scholarships are available for people with degrees or credentials in early childhood education and may cover partial or the total cost of attendance after other financial aid is received. Note: Costs include tuition and fees, transportation, room and board, and books and supplies. The scholarship program has been expanded to participants who are also seeking post-bachelorette degrees or credentials.
Apply by August 7 for priority access to funding! For more information, including full eligibility criteria, a list of participating institutions, and to apply, visit www.isac.org/ECACEscholarship.
In the News: Illinois State Senator Mike Simmons Advocates for Access to Child Care at the White House
On Thursday, July 20, Illinois State Senator Mike Simmons joined the presidential administration and state leaders from across the country at the White House to discuss policies that support the affordability, quality, and supply of child care. We are proud to have a legislative champion of ECE uplift the issues most important to children and families in Illinois and nationwide.
“We must provide our families with solutions at all levels of government to ensure that now, and for generations to come, families live abundant lives, free from the stress of the inability to afford one of their most basic expenses,” said State Senator Mike Simmons
Presidential Administration Announces New Proposed Rules to Lower Child Care Costs & Support Child Care Providers
On July 17, 2023, Vice President Kamala Harris announced new proposed federal rules to deliver on the fight to lower the cost of child care and strengthen the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. Some of these rules encourage states to cap child care copayments for working families at no more than 7% of a family’s income and waive copayments for families at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. The proposed rules also encourage states to streamline applications for families to access CCDBG funds and ensure child care providers can stabilize their finances through more timely payment processes.
Interested in taking action or providing comments? Anyone can submit comments to these proposed rules on the website before August 28.
Updates on the Federal Keep Kids Fed Act
In June 2022, Congress took action to pass the Keep Kids Fed Act (KKFA). Congress passed KKFA to respond to the ongoing fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic on child nutrition programs in schools and child care centers, but the essential provisions of the KKFA ended on June 30, 2023. Today, you can share information on the changes from the expiration of the KKFA, including changes to the Child Care and Adult Food Program (CACFP). Use these tools from the CACFP Roundtable to share these changes with your networks.
Back to School Family Fair hosted by State Senator Omar Aquino and State Representative Lilian Jimenez
State Senator Aquino (2nd District) and State Representative Jimenez (4th District) are delighted to invite anyone in the area to their highly anticipated Annual Back to School Fair, taking place on Saturday, August 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be held at Prosser Career Academy, located at 2148 N. Long Ave. Please feel free to spread the word about the back-to-school fair to your friends, family, and neighbors. Make sure to RSVP here.