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e-Advocate Newsletter January 2023

By Karen Brown posted 01-30-2023 11:00 PM


2023 Chicago Municipal Elections
If you live in Chicago, municipal elections take place on Tuesday, February 28. This includes the elections for Mayor and City Council Alderperson. Several dates to remember:

  • Mail-in ballots began being distributed on Thursday, January 19.
  • Early voting begins on Monday, February 13.

Click here for more voting information

Child Care Advocates United is holding an in-person forum on Wednesday, February 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. CT. Register here to attend and learn more about each candidate and their stance on important issues affecting early childhood care and education.

Free Lead in Water Testing for Child Care Providers
LeadCare Illinois empowers child care providers to give safe drinking water to the children in their care. In Illinois, certain child care facilities are required to test their water for lead and mitigate, if necessary. LeadCare Illinois offers FREE lead in water testing, training, and support to help child care providers address water safety and meet testing requirements.

Learn more and request a free test kit

Providers In Action Survey
Providers in Action (PIA) is back and ready to advocate for Illinois’ child care workforce, children, and families! 

PIA is a group of child care professionals that advocate for policy changes to improve the quality of and access to child care services. In the past, they advocated for increased investments in the early childhood workforce, increased CCAP eligibility, and improvements with DCFS licensing.

PIA members are seeking input from other providers and child care professionals about their programs and top concerns at this time. If you are a child care provider – regardless of type – please fill out the survey linked below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated! We’ve heard from 300 providers so far.

If you’d like to learn more about Providers in Action, please email Susanne Beilmann at

Submit your survey

COVID-19 Information and Resources

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine will help protect children and their loved ones. Check out and share the handy Q&A document linked below in English and Spanish, created by the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also, check out the great poster linked below in English and Spanish that you can print and hang at your child care program.

Workforce Scholarship Opportunity
Are you interested in either becoming an ECE professional or advancing in your career as an ECE professional at no cost? The Chicago Early Learning Workforce scholarship covers 100% of tuition and up to $250 per course in books to support your pursuit of a college degree, credential, endorsement, or ECE licensure.

The Workforce Scholarship application window opens on January 18, 2023. The Workforce Scholarship isn’t just for preschool teachers. It’s for all ECE professionals and anyone who lives in Chicago who wants to enter the ECE workforce. Learn more and apply

Celebrating Wins for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Last year was big for Illinois’ infants, toddlers and families. Advocates across the state informed and championed historic investments and implementations, noteworthy legislation and system improvements that support the most critical years of a child’s life – the first three.

Illinois Action for Children is proud to be a member of the Raising Illinois coalition, and Raising Illinois’ contributors and champions have a lot to be proud of as we reminisce about actions taken last year.

Read about Raising Illinois’s 2022 Accomplishments

Strolling Thunder
On Wednesday, June 21, families and their babies from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will meet with their Members of Congress as part of ZERO TO THREE’s national Strolling Thunder event. These families will come to Capitol Hill to remind their policymakers to Think Babies and invest in their youngest constituents. Do you know a family with a story about raising a young child who may want to represent their state and urge Congress to be champions for babies? 

No experience is necessary. ZERO TO THREE will provide training and support to families before, during, and after their meetings. Travel expenses will be paid.

Learn more

If you know a family in Illinois with a child under age three who may be interested, please have them fill out the below interest form and forward them this flyer. For questions, please read the FAQ or feel free to contact ZERO TO THREE will follow up with those who express interest by late March to let them know if they have been selected.

Strolling Thunder Interest Survey

2023 Federal Funding Omnibus Package
We’re starting the new year off strong! On Thursday, Dec. 29, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, appropriating a $2.8 billion increase in funding for federal child care and early learning programs. This includes a 30% increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the second largest increase in funds in the program’s history. We celebrate this as well as the reauthorization of the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting (MEICHV) program. 

We’d like to thank everyone who responded to our calls to action and contacted their legislators about increasing investments into ECE! However, there is still work to be done to ensure the enhanced Child Tax Credit and The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) receive the funding and support they need.

State Policy Updates

  • After the holidays from, Illinois state legislators gathered for a lame duck session from January 3-7 and passed several bills that await Governor Pritzker’s signature. This includes passing legislation to ban assault weapons, expanding reproductive rights, and guaranteeing five days of paid leave for all employees.
  • On Monday, January 9, Governor Pritzker mentioned several key priorities for the early care and education community during his inauguration into his second term. He proposed to make preschool available to every family throughout the state with more economic security for families by eliminating childcare deserts and expanding childcare options.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education submitted its Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal and recommended a 10% increase in all early childhood program funds. Although the community is grateful, we need to go bolder! To fully support Illinois’ youngest students and the workforce that educates and cares for them, Illinois must increase funding by at least 20%. IAFC will continue advocating for a budget increase in the General Assembly and look forward to Gov. Pritzker’s budget proposal address on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
  • WIN! Illinois was awarded a one-year planning grant of four million dollars under the Preschool Development Grant Birth-Five (PDG B-5). PDG B-5 grants support improved collaboration among existing programs as well as a mixed delivery system that includes child care and family child care providers, Head Start, state pre-kindergarten, and home visiting. 

Read IAFCs response to Gov. JB Pritzker's 2023 inaugural address

IAFCs 2023 Policy Agenda
Illinois Action for Children is proud to present its 2023 Policy Agenda to support the great improvements to the child care and early learning systems in Illinois. Our policy priorities seek to create a just system for child care and early education that ensures racially and economically equitable outcomes for all children. Click here to view the infographic.