Illinois Action for Children Responds to the Passage of SB1: Creation of the New Department of Early Childhood

May 17, 2024
State Capitol of Illinois in Springfield

Springfield, IL, May 9, 2024 – Today, the Illinois House passed SB1 with a vote of 93-18, establishing the new Department of Early Childhood, and fulfilling Governor JB Pritzker’s vision of creating a unified agency.

The passage of the bill reflects the state’s bipartisan commitment to early childhood education and care (ECEC). Governor Pritzker announced plans for a consolidated early childhood state agency last October to simplify the administration of ECEC programs and enhance accessibility for parents and providers. Moreover, the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding identified this as a vital step to creating an equitable early childhood system in Illinois.

“We celebrate the creation of the new Department of Early Childhood, along with the determination, leadership, and advocacy that have brought this vision to life,” said April Janney, CEO of Illinois Action for Children (IAFC). “We are eager to partner with the Pritzker administration to ensure this agency serves all children and families across our state in the most practical and impactful ways.”

IAFC expresses gratitude to Governor Pritzker and the lead sponsors of SB1 Leader Kimberly Lightford, and Representative Mary Beth Canty for their steadfast commitment to early care and education.

The new Department of Early Childhood should reduce administrative burdens on providers and parents, expand families’ access to early care and education programs, and lay a strong foundation for the entire early childhood system. In doing so, it will help promote the well-being of all children and families and create a brighter future for the state.

“With the passage of SB1 today, we have an opportunity to reimagine the early childhood system and ensure our youngest learners have the best social, educational, and health outcomes beginning from birth,” said Angela Farwig, IAFC’s Vice President of Public Policy, Advocacy, and Research. “Children and families belong at the center of uplifting our entire state, and that starts in early childhood.”

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