April Partner Plan Act E-Newsletter

April 25, 2023

I think creativity is essential. And one of the things that oppression and racism has done to us, is rob us of that creativity, prevent us from imagining a new way of experiencing life and being together, to imagine what could be different if we stopped doing some of the things that are harmful to all of us right now. To be creative really means that we’re leaning into this constant sense of discomfort. To me, at its core, that’s what creativity is because it is about that unknown. Nina D. Sánchez, anti-racism organizer & owner of 51st Ward Books, on Vocalo Radio 

Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3)  

We’re excited to present a new training titled “Early Childhood Collaboration Funding and Sustainability! This two-part workshop is designed to enhance community collaboration knowledge on grant writing and financial sustainability.  

Learn more in our Training & Events section below or register now. 

Collaboration Highlight 

The Kindergarten Readiness Goal Team: Champaign Urbana Cradle to Career held a conference on March 2 in Champaign, IL. It was funded by the Birth to Five Illinois Implementation Grant, United Way of Champaign County, and the Champaign County Home Visiting Consortium.  

The conference, Connecting the Dots for Families in Champaign County, focused on enhancing collaborative relations with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families with home visitors, early intervention specialists, government agencies, educators, and more.  

More than 100 people attended the event. 

Key highlights: 

  • The featured keynote speaker was Meghan Burke, Professor of Special Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Meghan shared advocacy strategies and tips for stakeholders across early childhood sectors.  

  • An Immigrant Services Panel hosted representatives from The New American Welcome Center, The Refugee Center, and Immigrant Services of Champaign Urbana. They discussed challenges that early childhood service providers encounter and provided support recommendations. 

  • Sarah Thompson, of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities Program, held a breakout session. Sarah shared a parent’s perspective on raising a child with a disability and provided strategies on what home visitors and family support workers can do to support families. 

  • Tanya Arellano-Blackshear, an Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant, provided strategies and resources on the importance of self-care for those who work directly with families. 

  • Jorge Elvir, from the City of Champaign Blueprint to Reduce Violence, shared strategies on supporting families whove dealt with gun violence. 

For more information, please contact Beverley Baker at beverley@unitedwaychampaign.org.   


This report provides a comprehensive overview of early childhood programs for children and families from perinatal (before and after birth) to five years old in Illinois. It categorizes programs by the children served, government agencies, content, delivery mechanisms, and funding sources. More critically, it describes the evidence available for each program. It serves as an important resource for early childhood professionals and policymakers. 

The science of the developing child points to eight prenataltothree policy goals that states should achieve to ensure that infants and toddlers get off to a healthy start and thrive. This policy roadmap identifies the 11 most effective evidence-based investments that Illinois can make to foster equitable opportunities for infants and toddlers. It also provides a snapshot of the state’s progress in the past year toward implementation. 

Trainings and Events   

Equity from the Start: Overcoming Obstacles, Leveraging Opportunities | May 16 to May 18 

This year’s theme is Equity from the Start: Overcoming Obstacles, Leveraging Opportunities. To kick us off, Nina D. Sánchez, co-director of Enrich Chicago, will give the opening keynote presentation. The conference will close with a presentation by the co-founder and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance Ai-Jen Poo