Community Systems Statewide Supports
About Partner Plan Act and Illinois Action for Children
The Partner Plan Act website is a central place for early childhood care and education professionals to learn more about how to expand, deepen, or build new local early childhood collaborations in your community. Resources and information on this website will focus on how to use a community systems development approach to strengthen and improve early childhood services and systems in your community.
Community Systems Statewide Supports Program (CS3)
In February 2018, Illinois Action For Children (IAFC) was awarded a grant through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a statewide training and technical assistance system, building the capacity of community collaborations to improve early childhood education systems.
IAFC will support communities as they work to develop and implement community-wide, collaborative strategies to ensure more children, ages birth-to-five, enroll in and regularly attend high-quality early learning programs.
The CS3 project has four goals:
- Provide foundational supports (training, access to planning, and collaboration tools) to early childhood professionals, at no cost, in support of their goal to form and/or strengthen community collaborations that are focused on improving local early childhood systems.
- Provide targeted supports (including individualized coaching) to select communities that wish to receive in-depth support that is focused on increasing the number of children ages birth-to-five who are enrolled in high-quality early learning services.
- Collaborate and coordinate with existing statewide providers of early childhood training to align training opportunities across systems.
- Implement a data and evaluation process to support continued system improvement at the community and state levels.
Brief History of Community Systems Development in Illinois
Illinois Action for Children received funding, thanks to Grand Victoria Foundation, to support the development of early care and education planning groups and the implementation of locally-driven strategies as part of the Building Blocks II project.
IAFC and a local partner have worked together to build local capacity for high-quality early care and education in Aurora, Lake County, Peoria, McHenry County, East St. Louis, and Joliet.
Through a State Advisory Council grant in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, 22 communities received one-time grants ranging from $1,000 to $9,999.
The ECAP project ran from May 2012 until April 2013.
In 2012, Illinois was awarded a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant to strengthen early childhood systems and kindergarten readiness for Illinois children. Illinois committed to assuring “children with highest needs receive high quality early learning services within a comprehensive system that serves all children.” IAFC led two initiatives, the Consortium for Community Systems Development and the Innovation Zones, to support and develop stronger systems at the community level.
The Consortium for Community Systems Development developed a strategic plan for embedding a community systems development approach for early childhood education in Illinois and also provided training and technical assistance.
The training supports included a two-year pilot of the ABLe Change Framework that offered 17 communities the opportunity to apply systems change approaches in their community. Additionally, the ABLe Change Framework pilot training provided common language and framework for early childhood community systems.
The Innovation Zones was a project that engaged 11 communities to develop and test strategies to increase the enrollment of children with critical needs in high-quality early learning and development programs.