For more than four decades, we have helped working families find child care and access early learning opportunities as we advocate for them. While the world is ever-changing, our commitment to children and families remains.
“What about the children?”
This was the question asked by Sylvia Cotton. Before Sylvia founded the Day Care Crisis Council, there was an appalling lack of quality child care alternatives for working parents in our state, and specifically in Chicago. Conflicting regulations, inadequate funding, and virtually non-existent standards of care contributed to this dire situation. It was 1969 and a small group of smart, politically active citizens came together to advocate on behalf of these working families and fight for better, and more affordable, child care options. Led by Sylvia Cotton, the Day Care Crisis Council evolved into what became Illinois Action for Children.
“She had this wonderful and powerful sense of moral outrage.” ~ Maria Whelan on Founder, Sylvia Cotton
Emphasis on Action
Good public policy must be informed and shaped by those directly affected. The evolution of the organization moved from reacting to crises to proactively addressing the issues that families and child care providers face. Eventually, advocacy work was augmented by services to support parents and providers. Families that used our services became more engaged and interested in the issues. The strength of our impact grew as we built a community of engaged citizens advocating on behalf of all children and their families.
Success Serving the People
In the more than 45 years since Sylvia took her message of change to legislators, the media, and the streets of Chicago, her vision has grown into an organization that serves more than 75,000 children and 150,000 families statewide every month in a passionate effort to support parents in making the best choices for their children’s future success.
And we are focused on the future. High-quality early care and education prepares the next generation of community leaders and learners. What inspires and moves our work forward comes from a single question asked by a small group of committed citizens. Today, with more than 400 employees and strong, diverse leadership, our response to that question continues to make a difference in the lives of families and their children.