Illinois has long valued evidence-based home visiting programs as an effective and efficient strategy for improving the life trajectory of expectant and new families who are at risk for poor health, educational, economic and social outcomes. Over the past three decades, Illinois has reflected this value by developing a robust statewide home visiting system that cuts across agencies and funding streams, reaching from the highest levels of government to the providers on the ground.
In Illinois, home visiting is supported by the following state and federal funding streams:
•HRSA Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program – Federal
•Illinois Department of Human Services Healthy Families Illinois and Parents Too Soon – General Revenue Funds
•Illinois State Board of Education Prevention Initiative – Early Childhood Block Grant, General Revenue Funds
•Illinois Head Start Association – Federal to Local Funding
The funds, which the state directly administers, total approximately $50M and support a network of over 300 programs across the state serving approximately 17,000 families per year. Funders of home visiting in Illinois have committed to continuously assessing the needs of the system, to being responsive in addressing the state's diverse geographic and demographic realities, and to fostering needed innovations.
In 2008, the Early Learning Council (ELC) created the Home Visiting Task Force (HVTF) under its auspices to support the development of one coordinated, high-quality system of home visiting programs that reaches all at-risk children under five years of age. The long-term goals of the HVTF are to expand access to evidence-based home visiting programs for all at-risk children; improve the quality of home visiting services; and increase coordination at the state and local levels. The HVTF consists of approximately 200 members representing state agencies and private sector health, early childhood and child welfare organizations, as well as providers, researchers, and advocates. The Task Force works with the Governor's Office to continue to advance the quality, quantity, and coordination of home visiting services across the funding streams and relevant departments. The HVTF also serves as the strategic advisory body for the MIECHV grant.
The federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program is administered by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development in partnership with the Department of Human services. Illinois MIECHV funds home visiting programs and home visiting coordinated intake in 13 communities throughout Illinois and provides vital support for the early childhood infrastructure that all state home visiting programs share. To learn more about MIECHV and home visiting in Illinois, visit igrowillinois.org.