eAdvocate Newsletter June 2024

July 1, 2024
Abraham Lincoln statue in front of the Illinois State Capital Building in Springfield, Illinois
In This Issue:

Find out what’s inside the Fiscal Year 2025 State Budget passed by the General Assembly, along with key legislative highlights from the Spring session. You can also watch our legislative recap webinar, catch up with the latest news on the Department of Early Childhood, and learn about upcoming opportunities and resources.



Governor JB Pritzker Signs SB1 (the Department of Early Childhood) Into Law

On Tuesday, June 25, Governor JB Pritzker (center) joined State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (right), State Representative Mary Beth Canty (left), and members of the early childhood community at Eyes on the Future Child Development Center in Chicago for the historic signing of SB1 into law.

This marks a milestone in the state’s commitment to early childhood education and care (ECEC). The act implements the new Department of Early Childhood, creating a unified agency to improve access to ECEC services across Illinois.

IL General Assembly Passes the Fiscal Year 2025 State Budget

On May 29, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Fiscal Year 2025 state budget (SB251), with significant increases in early childhood funding. This includes investments for the new Department of Early Childhood, to ease administrative burdens and expand access to early care and education programs. It also includes a second year of funding for the Smart Start Illinois Child Care, which will create more preschool slots, enhance teacher salaries, and provide crucial support to families. To learn more about these developments and other substantive bills affecting early childhood programs, providers, and parents, read IAFC’s full response to the budget and watch our legislative recap webinar recorded on June 13.

Help Shape the New Department of Early Childhood

Now that SB 1 (the Department of Early Childhood Act) has been signed into law, the real work begins! You can help ensure that Illinois’ parents and providers experience an early childhood education and care system that is simpler, more coordinated, and better equipped to support everyone.

Make your voice heard! You can join monthly Transition Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings and bimonthly transition calls. While members of the public may attend TAC meetings in “listen-only” mode, you can provide feedback during the bimonthly calls.

Next TAC Meeting (listen only):

July 9, 2024, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Next Bimonthly Listening Session (participants allowed to speak): July 19, 2024, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

For more opportunities to get involved and provide your written feedback, visit the Department’s transition planning website.

IDHS Announces Policy Changes to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced new policy changes to the Child Care Assistance Program that become effective July 1, 2024. Some of these changes include Family Child Care Home Reimbursement rate increases, “decoupling” of CCAP reimbursement and private tuition child care rates, and the expiration of the Initial Activity Search program (IAS).

See the full memo from IDHS for more information.

Share Your Advocacy Interests with Us!

This year is packed with opportunities to engage in advocacy, and we want to send you the opportunities that are right for you! Complete our advocacy interest form in partnership with We, the Village coalition so we can guide you to advocacy efforts that align with your interests, expertise, and community. The form should take less than five minutes to complete.

Get Ready for the New Smart Start Workforce Grants!

Applications for the new Smart Start Workforce Grants will be available from July 1–31. Please note that these grant requirements and award amounts differ from the Strengthen and Grow and the Smart Start Transition Grants. Learn more, or contact your child care resource and referral agency (CCR&R) to request technical support.

View a list of the Smart Start Workforce Grant contacts at each CCR&R.

Access Free Resources to Address Lead in Your Child Care Facility

We know you care about creating a safe and healthy learning environment for the children in your care. Elevate has several free programs available to help you address lead at your facility:

LeadCare Complete 
LeadCare Complete offers licensed child care facilities in the City of Chicago free lead-in-water testing and interior plumbing upgrades to address lead in drinking water.

LeadCare Cook County

LeadCare Cook County offers licensed providers in suburban Cook County free lead service line identification, replacement, and follow-up testing.

Preventative Lead Abatement Program
The Preventative Lead Abatement Program offers free remediation of lead paint hazards at home-based daycares. The program is available to home-based daycare providers located in Chicago and eligible communities in suburban Cook County.

eAdvocate is a monthly digital newsletter from Illinois Action for Children’s Public Policy and Advocacy Team. It includes the latest early childhood policy news and connects you to tools and resources to help effectively advocate for children and families. Reach out to our team at advocacy@actforchildren.org.