The Illinois Department of Human Services on Tuesday (Sept. 22, 2020) announced that more than $156 million in BIG funding has been provided to 4,686 child care providers across Illinois facing challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The first round of funding helped child care centers and homes in 95 counties across the state.
Forty-seven percent of the grant funds were awarded to childcare programs located in areas that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
An additional $114 million in grants will be available for child care providers across the state through the Business Interruption Grants program, the second round of funding dedicated to supporting child-care centers and homes.
Grantees eligible for funding include childcare centers and family childcare homes that are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services and are currently open and serving children in their communities.
IDHS is partnering with the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies to distribute the grants.
Applications will be available online in the coming weeks at https://www.ilgateways.com/financial-opportunities/restoration-grants.
In addition to BIG funding, the administration is utilizing federal relief dollars to support early childhood programs.
The Illinois State Board of Education dedicated $10 million of the Emergency Education Relief Fund to early childhood education providers. The funding includes $9 million for Early Childhood Block Grant programs in Illinois communities that have been most heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Programs can use the additional resources to supply parents and families with hands-on home learning materials, purchase technology to support remote learning, purchase personal protective equipment, provide staff members with stipends to work beyond contractual hours, and support the implementation of remote home visiting services.
ISBE also granted $450,792 to the Pyramid Model Consortium, which supports a framework of evidence-based practices for early childhood educators and caregivers to promote young children’s healthy social and emotional development; $182,258 to increase the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health consultant workforce; and $370,000 to the University of Chicago Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab to create a text messaging program to deliver educational prompts and reminders to parents whose children are enrolled in Preschool for All and Preschool for All – Expansion programs.
In accordance with the latest guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, all childcare programs must operate at approximately 30% reduced capacity in Phases 3 & 4 of the Restore Illinois plan to allow for social distancing.
The Illinois General Assembly directed a minimum of $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to support the economic health of child care providers as the Illinois economy begins to safely reopen.
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release