Illinois has been awarded a federal Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) by the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education. The state received $3,702,937 to carry out the proposed activities in 2019. The PDG B-5 grant allows Illinois to develop an overarching statewide strategic plan, informed by a needs assessment, which will guide systemic efforts to coordinate Illinois' mixed delivery system so that all children and families have access to the services they need to thrive. Illinois is also conducting activities to maximize parental choice and knowledge, engage community voice as we share best practices, and improve the overall quality of early childhood care and education throughout the state. We will be engaging the state's leadership, partners, and stakeholders, including families, throughout this process.
Illinois’ vision for PDG B-5 is that access to a continuous, equitable, and high-quality early childhood system enables children, with the support of their families and communities, to grow up safe, healthy, happy, and ready to succeed.
GOECD, in partnership with ISBE as our fiscal agent, will conduct the following activities:
Activity One: Statewide B-5 Needs Assessment
In conducting the needs assessment, Illinois will coordinate outreach to stakeholders, inventory and analyze existing statewide needs assessments, document data and research gaps, develop a set of research plans, complete statewide cost modeling, and expand the scope of our existing unduplicated count of children B-5 in early childhood care and education (ECCE) programs.
Activity Two: Statewide Strategic Plan
In developing the strategic plan, Illinois will update the existing framework of our Early Learning Council (ELC), inventory and mine existing strategic plans for aligned goals, and conduct focused planning to align our governance, expand coordinated intake, and increase access at the community level for children with special needs and children in the child welfare system.
Activity Three: Maximize Parental Choice and Knowledge
To increase parents’ ability to make informed decisions about their children’s care and education, Illinois will formalize family representation on the ELC, conduct Community Cafes to support parents in their children’s development, increase supports for families of children with disabilities and experiencing homelessness, and update public-facing websites to better respond to the needs of families.
Activity Four: Share Best Practices
Illinois will share best practices with the field by coordinating professional development across the state, engaging community voice through a Community System Portal, enhancing trainings for Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers, creating a database to facilitate cross-system use of early childhood mental health consultation, and supporting site-based Continuous Quality Improvement.
Activity Five: Improve Overall Quality
Illinois will improve the overall quality of ECCE by improving infant/toddler program environments and learning experiences and working through barriers to pathways for ECCE career advancement.
For more information about this exciting opportunity for Illinois, please see the following resources:
- Initial PDG B-5 Initial Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement, posted 9/2018
- Initial PDG B-5 original proposal, submitted November 2018
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Initial PDG B-5 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and Illinois' proposal, published November 2018
- Award press release, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, published 1/8/2019
- Award press release, Illinois Office of the Governor, published 1/8/2019
- Illinois' Initial PDG B-5 Overview, published July 2019 and revised August 2019
- Q1 PDG B-5 Performance Progress Report Narrative for Illinois, submitted 4/30/2019
- Q2 PDG B-5 Performance Progress Report Narrative for Illinois, submitted 7/26/2019
- PDG B-5 Renewal Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement, posted 9/20/2019
- PDG B-5 Renewal proposal, submitted November 2019
- Frequently Asked Questions about the PDG B-5 Renewal FOA and Illinois' proposal, published November 2019