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
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GOECD Initiatives
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Signed FY20 State Budget Contains Increased Investments in Early Care and Education

On June 5, Governor Pritzker signed the FY20 budget passed earlier by the General Assembly. This budget includes the following increases in investments for early care and education: 
  • A $50 million increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant
  • A $28.8 million increase to the Child Care Assistance Program
  • A $12 million increase to the Early Intervention program
  • A $100 million investment in ECE facilities (signed separately in a capital infrastructure plan)
  • Level funding for evidence-based home visiting programs
GOECD Submits MIECHV Grant
GOECD successfully submitted the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Grant on behalf of Illinois for $8,345,310.00.  Illinois MIECHV addresses social risk factors and improves child outcomes by implementing three evidence-based home visiting models in 12 at-risk communities. The communities include urban sites with concentrations of poverty, suburban townships with fast-growing refugee and immigrant populations that experience significant disparities, and rural counties where isolation and lack of transportation exacerbate conditions for families with high needs. Additional components include: infant mental health consultation; advanced trainings on maternal depression, substance use, and the FAN; state-aligned cross-model program monitoring; home visiting professionalization; weighted eligibility screening and coordinated intake; child welfare-home visiting partnership; universal newborn screening; and comprehensive early childhood system development. Benchmark data and continuous quality improvement (CQI) are also pivotal components of the project.
Congratulations to Commissioner Aigner-Treworgy
Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Chief of Early Learning at the City of Chicago, received a unanimous nomination from the board of Early Education and Care for the position of commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. Congratulations to Commissioner Aigner-Treworgy!
Nancy B. Ronquillo, President and CEO of 
Children's Home & Aid, Announces Retirement

After 18 years as President and CEO of Children's Home & Aid, Nancy B. Ronquillo will retire on June 30, 2019. During her tenure among her accomplishments were several new initiatives including: the Power of Fathers, a collaborative award-winning program that works to encourage fathers to be more actively involved with their children; the Jerri Hoffman Child & Family Center, a state-of-the-art early childhood learning facility was constructed and doubled the number of children who now receive high-quality educational services in the Carpentersville area; and the Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation, where innovation is incubated and informs advocacy for effective state and federal public policies to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families. In 2019, Children's Home & Aid successfully completed a $58.5 million Every Child Campaign, one of the largest fundraising campaigns ever undertaken by an Illinois human services agency. We thank Nancy for her leadership and dedication to Illinois' children and families and wish her all the best on her next chapter.

Photo: Left, Nancy B. Ronquillo, President and CEO, Children's Home & Aid and Right, Dr. Jamilah R. Jor'dan, Deputy Director, Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development and Trustee Emeritus, Children's Home & Aid.
Submit Your Nominations for the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program


Erikson Institute's Early Childhood Leadership Academy is currently seeking nominations for the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows 2019 cohort. This program is designed to enrich the perspective and enhance the capacity of diverse child advocates in Illinois who are committed to racial equity and want to influence early childhood policy. Candidates for the program are influencers currently in a role that includes strategic management, resource development and distribution, program development and administration, advocacy strategy and execution, grant making, or fostering and sustaining external partnerships.

Candidates for the program should:
  • Be a full-time employee of a nonprofit organization, school district or government agency in Illinois
  • Have at least three years of experience in a position of influence within their organization
  • Demonstrate a strong track record of leadership, innovation, and high performance
  • Obtain approval from their supervisors for time to fully participate in the program
Nominators must complete a nomination form and candidates must complete an application form. Nominations and applications are due Friday, June 28, 2019.

Email questions to Penny Smith, Associate Director, Early Childhood Leadership Academy: ecla@erikson.edu
Featured Resources 
New Documentary on Early Care and Education Features Illinois Educator
No Small Matter is the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for good in America today: early childhood education. Through poignant stories and surprising humor, the film lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years, and reveals how our failure to act on that evidence has resulted in an everyday crisis for American families, and a slow-motion catastrophe for the country. 

View the trailer here, and click here to download information on how to show the film in your area. 
Mixed Delivery System Ad Hoc Committee Report and Recommendations: Ensuring Equitable Access to Funding for All Birth-to-Five Classroom-Based Early Childhood Programs
The Illinois Early Learning Council's Integration and Alignment Committee's Mixed Delivery System Ad Hoc Committee was convened in 2018 and charged with addressing issues programs and families face when developing and accessing a robust early childhood Mixed Delivery System (with services delivered in both schools and community-based settings like child care and Head Start centers) in Illinois. These challenges were, and continue to be, particularly acute for providers seeking to implement Preschool for All (PFA) and Prevention Initiative (PI) programs in community-based settings. The Mixed Delivery System Ad Hoc Committee recognizes the implication of not integrating PFA and PI funding streams in more community-based settings because these funding streams have been the State's primary mechanism for raising quality in center-based child care. The report provides more detail on the process of inquiry, the findings, and the recommendations. The Committee has included a detailed rationale for each recommendation, a vision for the future of Illinois, and proposed next steps. Implementing the recommendations proposed is a first step in developing a fully functioning, accessible, and reliable Mixed Delivery System, which is vital to the future of Illinois, its children, and its families. Read the full report here.
ECE Workforce Information and Resources Available on GOECD Website!

There is now a page on the GOECD website dedicated to ECE workforce information and resources. The page includes materials on ECE workforce development designed for use by early childhood providers, secondary and postsecondary counselors and advisors, institutions of higher education, and communities and other stakeholders, all compiled or developed by the Early Childhood Workforce Development project led by GOECD. Check it out!

Illinois is one of only a few states to pass broad legislation to curtail expulsion from early childhood education and child care programs. According to the law, which went into effect in January 2018, programs funded by the Illinois State Board of Education or licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services must make every possible effort to retain a child. They must also document their use of any and all available resources, services and interventions.

Kate Zinsser, assistant professor of psychology and principal investigator at the Social-Emotional Teaching and Learning Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and researchers at UIC conducted a preliminary investigation of Illinois early childhood programs' current and prior expulsion practices, in addition to their understanding of and responses to the new law. Their findings are featured in the new report, "Evaluation Report of the Implementation of Illinois Public Act 100-0105: Early childhood programs' knowledge of and responses to the 2018 expulsion legislation."
New Research - Perry Preschool: Intergenerational Effects

In a new analysis released in May from Nobel laureate economist James J. Heckman and his co-author Ganesh Karapakula, evidence is presented suggesting that targeted, high-quality early childhood investments have the potential to lift multiple generations out of poverty. 

Download the presentation slides and watch the webinar here.

The Perry Preschool Intergenerational Effects Toolkit and a cademic papers from the National Bureau of Economic Research  can be downloaded here .

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federally funded program, administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services, that helps women and their families access healthy foods, health care, nutrition education, and breastfeeding assistance. Despite WIC's proven success at reducing food insecurity and increasing healthier births and more positive developmental outcomes for children, in recent years WIC program participation and retention has declined nationally and in Illinois.
With a new state administration and a scheduled WIC transition to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for 2020, now is the time to address the WIC service gap. A new report published in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, EverThrive Illinois, Ounce of Prevention Fund, and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides extensive research and recommendations on how to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of WIC in Illinois.

Child Care Aware of America's new report details how states are grappling with the inadequate supply of child care. The report highlights several examples of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) and state-level advocacy organizations working to close gaps in their states and communities. CCAoA leads projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offers comprehensive training to child care professional, under takes research, and advocates for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families.

CCR&Rs work tirelessly to fill the gaps between child care supply and demand in their states and communities. Because they work closely with both sides of the supply and demand equation, CCR&Rs and partners offer a robust infrastructure that is a critical part of the solution for closing child care gaps across the country. They also provide valuable data so stakeholders can make informed decisions to better meet families' needs. The report is available here.
Recent Events
Office of Head Start Opioid Conference Held in Chicago

On May 28 and 29, the Office of Head Start (OHS) National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness convened a regional event in Chicago about opioid misuse, "Understanding How the Opioid Crisis and Substance Use Disorders Impact Head Start Children, Families, and Staff: Creating a Path Forward." Each participating state sent Head Start and Early Head Start grantees, plus a state team of agency leaders to the conference. The Illinois team, convened by the Department of Human Services (DHS) Head Start State Collaboration Office and the Illinois Head Start Association (IHSA) consisted of the following: Felichia Crawford, DHS Head Start State Collaboration Office; Lauri Morrison-Frichtl, IHSA; Donna Emmons, IHSA Collaboration; Nakisha Hobbs, DHS; Lisa Cohen, DHS-Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery; Jennifer Epstein, Department of Public Health; Sam Gillespie, Department of Children and Family Services; Penny Smith, Illinois State Board of Education; Julia Zhu, Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development; and Carie Bires, Ounce of Prevention Fund.
During the meeting, each state's Head Start grantees and state team worked to create action plans to help their programs through this crisis. The Illinois state team identified several short-term action items, including providing trainings to early childhood programs about naloxone, a type of medication to rapidly reverse opioid overdose; and increasing staff and families' knowledge about opioid misuse and its effect on the brain, with an emphasis on stigma-reduction and the fact that "addiction is a chronic disease, not a moral failure." For the long term, the state team hopes to leverage the state Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council's Children and Families Committee to focus more on the crisis response for pre-natal to age five services; establish cross training of agencies on their work around opioids; and explore and identify strategies for placing peer recovery coaches in Head Start programs.
For more information about substance misuse for early childhood program staff, click here .

For more information about Illinois's State Opioid Action Plan, click here .

For data on the opioid crisis in Illinois, visit the IDPH Opioid Data Dashboard ( click here for a tutorial   on the dashboard).

To find your nearest drop-off site to safely dispose of prescription medication, visit maps.google.com and search, "Medicine Disposal Near Me"

For more information on the conference, contact Donna Emmons at demmons@ilheadstart.org.
GOECD Workforce Policy Director Speaks at Illinois Public Media Dinner

On May 23, Bethany Patten (Workforce Policy Director for GOECD) gave the keynote address at WILL's Early Childhood Champions Dinner. The dinner honored central Illinois early childhood educators and volunteers. Read more about the event here.

Photo:  (L) Illinois Public Media CEO Moss Bresnahan; Bethany Patten, workforce policy director for the Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development; Kimberlie Kranich, director of engagement and educational outreach at Illinois Public Media; and Niala Boodhoo, host of The 21st, welcome early childhood educators at WILL's inaugural Early Childhood Champions Dinner May 23, 2019.
Illinois Continues Work on Racial Equity at BUILD State Teams Meeting in Memphis

The BUILD Initiative hosted its biannual State Teams Meeting in Memphis May 21-23. Along with teams from Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington, the Illinois State Team worked to develop strategies for increasing access to and improving the quality of services across our early childhood systems. Over the course of the three days, meeting participants deepened their understanding of how the health, early learning, and family support sectors work together to promote child and family well-being.
Highlights from the meeting included a keynote speech from Reggie Bicha, former executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services on redesigning state services through innovative projects, a visit to the paradigm-shifting National Civil Rights Museum, and a deeply moving speech by the Rev. Dr. Earle Fisher, senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church and founder of #UptheVote901, on the difference between transactional leadership and transformational leadership in effecting structural and systemic change.
llinois BUILD State Team at the National Civil Rights Museum, right to left, beginning with back row: Carisa Hurley, Abigail Holicky, Bryan Stokes III, Kimberly Mann, Julia Zhu, Sandy de Leon, Cynthia Tate, Karen Berman, Cristina Pacione-Zayas.

Since 2017, the Illinois BUILD State Team has been focused on embedding racial equity in our early care and education systems, especially by supporting the Early Learning Council's (ELC) efforts to adopt a racial equity framework. This year, the Team welcomed Carisa Hurley, Director of Early Childhood at the Illinois State Board of Education, and Abigail Holicky, Acting Division Chief and Interim Title V Director of the Department of Public Health's Office of Women's Health and Family Services, as its newest members in this work. With the support of our State BUILD Consultant, Dr. Aisha Ray, the Team put together recommendations on strategic priorities for the ELC, which will be considered at the ELC Executive Committee's next racial equity retreat in July.
Pyramid Model
Largest Number of Illinois Educators Attend the National Training Institute on Addressing Challenging Behavior Conference

Photo: Row 1 (L to R) - Sheila Bauer, Amanda Quesenberry, Donna Nylander, Connie Shugart. Row 2 (L to R) -Micki Ostrosky, Joyce Senters, Karen McCarthy, Bridget Meis, Tweety Yates, Sharon Doubet, Sherial McKinney. Row 3 (L to R) - Beth Knight, Pam Reising Rechner, Lori Orr, Cecilla Mintz.

Over 30 educators attended the 16th Annual National Training Institute (NTI) Pyramid Model Conference on April 30-May 3, 2019, in Florida. Due to the large number of attendees from Illinois, GOECD organized a breakfast at the conference for all Illinois attendees; half of the attendees enthusiastically joined. This was an opportunity to communicate what GOECD and the Pyramid Model State Leadership Team is doing across the state in areas of Professional Development, Implementation, and collecting Data. The Illinois statewide poster was shared highlighting training, technical assistance, collaboration and implementation. INCCRRA, Early Choices, StarNet, Pyramid Model Master Cadre members/coaches and professors from U of I, Champaign and ISU shared what they have been doing to support the Pyramid Model in their respective agencies. Everyone felt it was a worthwhile and valuable breakfast meeting.

Sheila Bauer, State Leadership Team founding member and StarNet Region 6 specialist, was recognized as one of the finalists of the 2019 Pyramid Model Champion Award. Congratulations, Sheila!
Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development | earlychildhood.illinois.gov
160 N. LaSalle St. Suite N-100
Chicago, IL 60601