Early Learning Insights
Newsletter of the Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development
In This Issue
Alignment. Quality. Access.

GOECD leads the state's initiatives to create an integrated system of quality early learning and development programs to help give all Illinois children a strong educational foundation before they begin kindergarten.  Learn more.
Upcoming Events
September 5 |
Integration and Alignment (IAC) Committee Meeting
September 11 |
All Families Served Subcommittee Meeting

September 12 |
Data, Research, and Evaluation (DRE) Subcommittee Meeting

September 16 |
MCO Ad Hoc Meeting

September 18 |
Access Committee Meeting

September 18 |
Family Engagement 
Subcommittee Meeting

September 19 |
Community Systems Development
Subcommittee Meeting

September 19 |
Subcommittee Meeting

See the 
calendar for more events and details.
GOECD Initiatives
Stay Connected
Welcome Artiya Nash!

GOECD welcomes Artiya Nash, Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Project Director!

Strengths Finder Themes: Adaptability, Achiever, Command, Focus, Activator

With over twenty years of experience as an Early Childhood Administrator, Artiya has a wealth of experience in designing and managing Head Start/Early Head Start and State Pre-K Programs. She has served as a District Director of Child Lab Centers for City Colleges of Chicago, Curriculum and Assessment Director, and Director of Education for a host of Not for Profit Organizations across the City of Chicago. Artiya has supported hundreds of Early Learning Programs at the local and federal level, with 10 years at the Federal Level as a Head Start Program Federal Reviewer, working with countless Head Start Grantees across the country. Over the last 7 years, Artiya has provided support to Chicago Public School Teachers and Teacher Leaders on the use of the NWEA MAP assessment data to inform instruction, set school improvement goals and targeted professional development through a variety of methods, including grade level meetings, all staff meetings, and/or webinar presentations. Her area of expertise includes guiding teachers on analyzing assessment data to guide instruction and, at the administrative level, how to use assessment data to support program quality improvement and overall student growth. 

Welcome PhuongY Nguyen!

PhuongY Nguyen has joined GOECD as the PDG B-5 Business Manager. In this role she will provide coordination and management of grants, contracts, and budgets for the PDG B-5 grant.  PhuongY is a CPA with a B.A. in Accounting from Northeastern Illinois University. She has also completed the Grant Management Certificate Program. Prior to coming to GOECD, PhuongY is best known for her role as the Manager of Finance for the Children Services Division of the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, a position she held from 2001 to 2015. In this capacity, PhuongY oversaw Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care grants, and provided fiscal support to grantees on financial regulations and procedures related to the receipt of Federal funds. Since leaving the City of Chicago, PhuongY continues to offer her knowledge of early childhood grants, as well as government and non-profit financial management,  to community-based organizations in the Chicago metropolitan area.
PDG B-5 Opportunity: Building Bridges between Child Welfare and Home Visiting

Young children and families with child welfare involvement are one of the priority populations identified by the Illinois Early Learning Council, but there are systemic barriers that prevent their successful engagement in early childhood programs. To address this as part of Illinois' PDG B-5 efforts, Tia Staggers has recently joined the Erikson DCFS Early Childhood Project as a Home Visiting Specialist. Tia will be providing coordination of services to successfully engage child welfare-involved families with young children in home visiting programs. She will work with child welfare case managers, Erikson DCFS Early Childhood Development Specialists, and Infant Mental Health Consultants to reduce barriers for this underserved population. Best practices and lessons learned from the Illinois Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care - Home Visiting Pilot (I-PPYC-HV) will be applied in her work.
Tia is seeking to connect with home visiting programs who want to deepen their collaboration with child welfare. For more information, please reach out to Tia directly at Tiawanna.Staggers@illinois.gov.
Important Issues
Public Charge's Chilling Effects on 8 Million Children in Immigrant Households

The Trump administration's recent additions to the Public Charge Rule have expanded the grounds for deporting legally present noncitizens (e.g. green card holders) using public benefits and to deny admission to those who currently enter the U.S. based on family relationships. The new standards will include previously excluded programs such as Medicaid (non-emergency for non-pregnant adults), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and several housing programs.
The population that will most experience the " chilling effects" of the rule - i.e. families will disenroll or not apply altogether for benefits due to fear of deportation - are 23 million immigrant families in the U.S., including 8 million children who are U.S. citizens.  Of this group, 10 million are noncitizens and 47% live in a family using cash and noncash benefits. The families that will be most impacted by the public charge are those in the Latinx and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
Prior research has demonstrated that SNAP and medical coverage for children provide a critical foundation for academic success, improved health outcomes, and long-term economic self-sufficiency. With one in four children living in the U.S. with an immigrant parent, the public charge will significantly impact the early childhood community needs and the field's ability to address them.
Despite Expulsion Laws, Young Children are Still Being Expelled

Kicking young kids out of school is a damaging practice. Despite the fact that many states, including Illinois (Public Act 100-0105), have passed laws banning suspensions and expulsions, children are still being expelled from early childhood programs at alarming rates. This NBC news article outlines some of the challenges that teachers, programs, children, and families continue to face even after Illinois' well-intentioned law passed in 2018.
Featured Resources 
Policy [M]atters Video Series Releases Three Interviews Focused on Racial Equity 

Policy [M]atters is a video chat series between Teri Talan, Michael W. Louis, Chair and Senior Policy Advisor at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, and guest leaders in early childhood policy. This past year the focus was on racial equity in early childhood education systems. The guest leaders were: Dr. Aisha Ray, Distinguished Fellow, BUILD Initiative; Dr. Cynthia Tate, Executive Director, Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development; and Ashley Nazarak, Vice President of Learning and Evaluation, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. These leaders also comprised the panel for the Public Policy Forum at Leadership Connections held on May 10, 2019. The forum welcomed 350 participants to learn what is being done to advance racial equity at the national, state, and local levels. 

You can learn more (and add to the dialogue) by connecting to the Policy [M]atters series at:

  • Season 04, Episode 01
  • Season 04, Episode 02 
  • Season 04, Episode 03 
  • Illinois MIECHV 6th Annual Report 

    The Illinois Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV)  program administered by GOECD completed the sixth full year of implementation in late 2018. The comprehensive results are presented in the MIECHV 6th Annual Benchmark and Outcome Report, completed by the MIECHV Evaluation Lead, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Center for Prevention Research and Development . MIECHV is one of several home visiting (HV) funding streams in Illinois and has been federally funded by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) since 2011. The MIECHV program provides free, voluntary, home-based services to pregnant women and families. In its last completed program year (October 2017-September 2018), MIECHV provided services to 800 families in 12 high-need communities throughout Illinois. The MIECHV at-risk communities were identified through a needs assessment and have high concentrations of risk and negative child outcomes due to factors such as: rural isolation; poverty; premature birth; low birthweight infants; infant mortality, particularly early death due to child maltreatment; domestic violence; high rates of school dropouts; substance abuse; unemployment; and child maltreatment. An updated statewide needs assessment is currently underway with a full report anticipated in October of 2019.   
    Why Home Visiting Matters

    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a new video featuring MIECHV awardee staff including Illinois MIECHV Program Director, Lesley Schwartz, and Illinois MIECHV Data Specialist, Karen Jenkins, sharing their thoughts on why home visiting matters at the 2018 MIECHV All Grantee Meeting. To view the video, click here.
    Recent Events
    Early Learning Council Executive Committee Second Annual Racial Equity Retreat

    On July 24, the Early Learning Council (ELC) Executive Committee held its second annual Racial Equity Retreat. Executive Committee members spent the full-day reviewing the ELC's work to advance racial equity in the past year and identifying priority areas and measurements of progress for the upcoming year. The four priorities that the Executive Committee identified for the committees of the Early Learning Council are: 1) Align and standardize race/ethnicity data collection and reporting; 2) Evaluate and identify whether processes for distributing resources exacerbate racial disparities, including agency contracting; 3) Address racial/ethnic disparities in terms of workforce compensation and advancement; and 4) Eliminate racial/ethnic disparities for children participating in all programs that contribute to school readiness and life success by addressing racial disparities in enrollment in preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds and in prenatal to age 3 services.
    Executive Committee members also drafted initial work plans for each ELC committee, which will be finalized in the coming months. For more information on the retreat, see the minutes here. Our thanks to Dr. Aisha Ray of the Build Initiative for facilitating the retreat and to Erikson Institute for hosting.
    Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development | earlychildhood.illinois.gov
    160 N. LaSalle St. Suite N-100
    Chicago, IL 60601