The state of Illinois is going to increase government reimbursements to child care programs, starting Jan. 1.
The state will also create a new 29-member commission of experts to chart a new course for early childhood funding. The commission includes at least two local members: Trish Rooney, director of Early Childhood Initiatives for Fox Valley United Way and state Sen. Donald DeWitte of St. Charles.
According to a state of Illinois news release, child care reimbursement rates for all center and home-based providers statewide are increasing by 5 percent. State officials say the funding will improve access to stable care for low-income families and increase wages of early childhood providers.
The news release said child care centers in rural counties are closing classrooms “at an alarming rate” because they can’t find and retain qualified staff, so the state is increasing the base rates for centers in Group 2 counties by 15 percent — which totals more than 20%, including the statewide rate increase.
The state is increasing funding for child care training by $3 million.
The new commission is tasked with taking a fresh look at the state’s entire ECEC system, the group met for the first time last week, and its work will center around establishing funding goals and funding mechanisms to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age 5.
Gov. JB Pritzker appointed the following child care providers, advocates, educators and legislators from around the state to serve on the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding:
- Barbara Flynn Currie, Former House Democratic Majority Leader
- George Davis, Former Executive Director, Rockford Human Services Department
- Andy Manar, Illinois State Senator, D-Bunker Hill
- Jesse Ruiz, Deputy Governor for Education
- Emma Ahiable, Prekindergarten Teacher, Springfield District 186 (IEA)
- Dr. Carmen Ayala, Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education
- Christopher Belt, Illinois State Senator, D-Centreville
- Thomas Bennett, Illinois State Representative, R-Gibson City
- Kristin Bernhard, Senior Vice President, Ounce of Prevention Fund
- Patricia Chamberlain, Retired Educator
- Will Davis, Illinois State Representative, D-Homewood
- Donald DeWitte, Illinois State Senator, R-St. Charles
- Shauna Ejeh, Senior Vice President for Programs, Illinois Action for Children
- Craig Esko, Senior Vice President, PNC Bank
- Phyllis Glink, Executive Director, Irving Harris Foundation
- Rochelle Golliday, Executive Director, Cuddle Care
- Rey Gonzalez, President and CEO, El Valor
- Christina Hachikian, Executive Director, Rustandy Center for Social Innovation, University of Chicago Booth School
- Grace Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services
- Lori Longueville, Director, Child Care Resource and Referral, John A Logan College
- Cathy Mannen, Union Professional Issues Director, Illinois Federation of Teachers
- Bela Mote, Chief Executive Officer, Carole Robertson Center
- Evelyn Osorio, Child Care Field Coordinator, SEIU Healthcare
- Aaron Ortiz, Illinois State Representative, D-Chicago
- Elliot Regenstein, Partner, Foresight Law + Policy
- Trish Rooney, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives, Fox Valley United Way
- Jodi Scott, Regional Superintendent of Schools
- Robin Steans, Executive Director, Advance Illinois
- Jim Stelter, Superintendent, Bensenville School District 2
The commission is expected to deliver its final recommendations to the governor by January 2021.
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release