Early Care and Education in IL Facing Mix of State Cuts and Boosts with Federal Relief

June 2, 2021

Chicago, IL – The state budget reached yesterday at the end of the Illinois General Assembly’s legislative session largely reflects level-funding from FY21 due to better-than-expected state revenue and some revenue enhancements. While Illinois Action for Children is disappointed that overall state investments in early childhood programs were decreased, we are pleased to see investments made in the early childhood workforce, particularly with federal relief funds. 

  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) – Cut by $20 million. However, due to lower program usage, the appropriation will allow for a provider rate increase, family copayment reduction, and funding to serve 25 percent more children by June 30, 2022. 
  • Early Intervention (EI) – Cut by $7 million due to lower caseload in FY21.  The appropriation will likely cover increased caseload for FY22. 
  • Home Visiting– Flat funding for FY 22. 
  • Early Childhood Block Grant (Prevention Initiative/Preschool for All)– The Early Childhood Block Grant was flat funded for FY22. This is the first time in several years that K-12 schools received an increase while 0-5 programs did not. 

To ensure a balanced budget, the General Assembly closed several corporate tax loopholes that will generate over $600 million in revenue each year going forward. We applaud the General Assembly for taking action to create sustainable revenue rather than using one-time sources to plug budget holes. 

In addition, the General Assembly appropriated $110 million in federal funds dedicated to early childhood workforce and higher education efforts. This includes the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity, created by HB 2878, passed this weekend by the General Assembly, which promises to increase access to degree programs, certificates, credentials, and professional licensure. Consortium efforts will prioritize the incumbent early childhood workforce, which includes working adults who require programs of study that offer flexibility in times courses are offered, location, and format. 

The state budget will be sent to the Governor and is expected to be signed by June 30. Illinois Action for Children will work closely with providers, advocates, agencies, and the Governor’s Office to ensure the $1.3 billion in child care funds provided to Illinois through the American Rescue Plan is used to support the ECE workforce through increased compensation. This will support programs through stable funding and support families through lower costs and higher quality. 

About Illinois Action for Children:

As a state and national leader in the early care and education field, Illinois Action for Children is distinguished by its “Strong Families, Powerful Communities” approach to child development, Pre-K and Head Start, and other family and community supports. Learn more at www.actforchildren.org.


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