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Pritzker proposes standalone early childhood agency

25 Oct 2023 3:38 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled a plan Tuesday to consolidate all of the state’s early childhood programs and funding into a new state agency. [Health News Illinois]

The agency’s purview would include the Department of Human Services’ current role in subsidizing the cost of child care services, home visits and early intervention services for lower-income families.

“We need a governance system that is unified in its approach to serving families, working with providers and promoting equity,” Pritzker said at a press conference in Chicago.

Other responsibilities would include the Early Childhood Block Grant at the Illinois State Board of Education and day care licensing currently managed by the Department of Children and Family Services.

Pritzker will sign an executive order outlining the plan for the agency and promised to work with the General Assembly on legislation next spring to formally create it.

Additionally, his administration will form an external advisory committee to seek input in preparation for the proposal. Bela Moté, CEO of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, will chair the committee. 

Agency directors joined Pritzker in support of the plan.

“Our shared mission across state agencies is enhancing equitable access to early childhood programs and services in support of holistic development for all children,” said DHS Secretary Dulce Quintero.


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