March 2019

March 6, 2019

Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3)

The Partner Plan Act Collaboration Institute is gearing up to launch its application for the second cohort. The application will be open from April 1, 2019 through May 30, 2019 for supports starting July 1, 2019. If your local early childhood collaboration is interested in applying for coaching, consultation, and/or trainings, here are some ways you can prepare for the upcoming application:

  1. Discuss the Partner Plan Act Collaboration Institute with your collaboration
  2. Determine three to five collaboration members who are interested in participating
  3. Schedule a call with the Director, Grace Araya, to help inform your application

The Partner Plan Act website recently had a make-over. We hope you will check it out!

partner plan act

Then, please take a moment to let us know what you think about the website. Your feedback helps us make improvements.

Local Collaboration Spotlight

Cicero’s All Our Kids Network: Parent Ambassador Program

embassador.jpgCicero All Our Kids Early Childhood Network (Cicero AOK), the early childhood component of the Cicero Community Collaborative (CCC), takes parent and community engagement very seriously. The collaboration believes its work should be guided and decided by the community, believing that parents and community members are change agents. This frame of thinking contributed to the creation of the Parent Ambassador program.

Currently comprised of 10 Cicero parents and community members, the Parent Ambassador program serves a dual purpose: to collect and share information with the community, and to ensure that the community’s voice is actively heard by the collaboration. To ensure parent and community voice, Parent Ambassadors are also voting collaboration members.

To fund the program, Cicero AOK was fortunate to benefit from a community improvement grant awarded to the CCC by the United Way of Metro Chicago. The funding helps provide parents with a stipend of up to $1,500 per year and support general public awareness initiatives

On the surface, the program is simple. Parent Ambassadors commit to working 8-10 hours per week and receive a stipend to compensate them for their time. They are trained about various parent and community programs, building on personal knowledge to help them conduct targeted outreach. Primarily Spanish-speaking, the Parent Ambassadors canvass door to door in neighborhoods that are largely Latino to engage families. They also attend community events to promote the importance of early childhood programs and bring public awareness to free community events such as early childhood trainings, workshops, developmental screenings, and AOK/CCC events. They work together in small teams across six geographical sectors, and have the flexibility of creating their own team schedules.

At the collaboration level, the Parent Ambassadors’ work is complex and priceless. When not engaging directly with community members or leading their own meetings, Parent Ambassadors attend both Cicero AOK and CCC collaboration meetings. They also participate in work groups that shape the collaborations’ future. This is parent and community engagement to be proud of!


Center for American Progress: Child Care Desert Mapping

Il mapYou may have heard about food deserts, but what about child care deserts? The Center for American Progress (CAP) released an interactive map that illustrates which parts of the state have the least access to child care. It also breaks down who is most affected by this issue.

In Illinois, 58 percent of residents live in a child care desert. Unsurprisingly, certain populations are disproportionately affected by this issue: 65 percent of Latino families and 69 percent of rural families live in areas without enough licensed child care providers.

Check out the Child Care Desert data here and see how Illinois compares to its Midwest neighbors. It’s important to note that the map shows only care that is licensed. It could be misleading because:

  • The child care capacity includes all ages served, not just 0 to 4.
  • Licensed care could be plentiful in nearby communities. Users should check the map to see if care is located nearby.
  • Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) child care is not shown on the map.

The Grand Plan: Grandparent Resources

Grandparents care for 1 out of 4 children under five while parents work or go to school. How can early childhood professionals support families who are sharing the care? Check out ZERO TO THREE’s 3 short films for a peek into the daily lives of three real families.

Upcoming Trainings

spring into actionSpring Into Action Conference

The two-day annual Spring Into Action Conference at the State House Inn will take place in Springfield, Illinois on April 2-3, 2019.
This year’s theme is Advocacy Everywhere: Using Our Outdoor Voices for Change. Attendees will have the opportunity to delve into key legislative issues through policy-oriented workshops and visit the state capitol:

  • Participate in a wide range of policy workshops impacting children and families
  • Receive resources and learn best-practices to enhance their work; and
  • Provide feedback on specific statewide projects.

The CS3 team will be presenting on Community Systems Development at the breakout session, CSD 101. We hope to see you there!
Register here!

Engaging Families in Early Childhood Community Collaborations

trainingWe held a successful training on family engagement in February, and we’re excited to offer additional trainings on this important topic. This training will help participants identify strategies to reach priority populations, empower parents, and sustain a welcoming environment for families.

The next Engaging Families in Early Childhood Community Collaborations trainings are:

2019 Partner Plan Act Conference: Equity from the Start

training Registration for the 2019 Partner Plan Act Conference is now open! The conference will take place in Bloomington, Illinois on June 11, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. This annual conference brings early childhood system stakeholders to learn, network, and deepen their community systems knowledge and skills.

Register now

Webinar on the Illinois Risk and Reach Projectt

webinarThe CS3 team will be joined by Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Director of Policy at Erikson Institute on Tuesday, April 30 at 1pm for an hour long webinar. Participants will be introduced to the Illinois Risk and Reach Project and explore how they can use the data in their work. This webinar is meant for early childhood collaboration members.

The Illinois Risk and Reach Project is a set of data tools that includes a comprehensive early childhood focused report and interactive website compiling analysis of child well-being indicated in relation to state investments in three domains: family stability, health, and early care and education. Data are visualized through tables and maps in three categories:

  • “Risk,” an analysis of a distinct number of indicators representing risk factors that affect child wellbeing and development;
  • “Reach,” an analysis of the availability and distribution of publicly funded early childhood programs and services by geography (such as county, legislative district, etc.);
  • Budget analysis of birth through five publicly-funded programs and services comparing the most recent fiscal years.

The report (available in March 2019) will be a catalyst for dialogue and action that advances greater equity for Illinois children and prompts inquiry into how state resources can be distributed more effectively.

Register now