Pritzker Administration launches pilot program to help youngster care suppliers in rural communities

Gov JB Pritzker – PHOTO IDPH

CHICAGO – The Illinois Governor’s Office for Early Childhood Development (GOECD) today announced a new pilot program to remove the barriers rural childcare providers face in meeting state standards for quality of care. Working with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), GOECD is providing 35 rural centers with US $ 3.8 million annually to hire additional staff or raise salaries for existing employees. The pilot program, made possible by both federal and state funds, is expected to last three years and builds on the Pritzker administration’s continued commitment to improve equity and access to quality childcare for all families in Illinois.

“Investing in childcare not only benefits our youngest residents, it also enables working parents to reach their full potential.” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I am proud that during this pandemic, Illinois was the best country in the nation to support childcare workers and the children they serve. This important pilot program strengthens our ongoing efforts to improve equity in every corner of our state and brings new resources to regions where families have historically had less easy access to quality childcare. The truest measure of our pandemic recovery will be the opportunities and support we provide to our working families, and Illinois will leave no community behind as we build the futures our residents deserve. “

“Governor JB Pritzker and his administration want every child to come to school safe, healthy, ready to succeed and eager to learn. This pilot gives us the opportunity to test a new approach to childcare quality that we can evaluate based on data and evidence. ” said Dr. Jamilah R. Jor’dan, Executive Director of GOECD. “We are excited to work closely with the 35 daycare centers participating in this pilot and our partners in the Illinois Department of Human Services.”

Unlike other programs that reward childcare providers who already meet standards for quality of care, this pilot program facilitates grants for daycare centers that need additional support to improve the quality of care. Participating centers are screened using ExceleRate Illinois, the government’s system for improving the quality and rating of childcare facilities.

“Governor Pritzker has a clear understanding of the critical importance and impact of the way the childcare industry supports families across the state. We are pleased to be working with the Governor’s Office for Early Childhood Development and see 35 centers benefiting from this federal funding. This is an opportunity to support providers and improve access to quality childcare for all families in Illinois. “ said Grace Hou, secretary for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The pilot funding is allocated per classroom and made available to the centers in advance for salary and staff improvement centers that must meet standards beyond the basic licensing requirements. The pilot participants are working on the implementation of the ExceleRate Illinois standards for continuous quality improvement (CQI).

“Morale is high! The teachers feel more valued. ” said Dr. Jill Andrews, president of the Southern Illinois Early Childhood Action Team and owner of the Kiddie Fellow Early Childhood Center in Fairfield, IL. “The improved credentials based salaries and regular team scheduling make a difference. Planning and testing improvements much faster is more effective than just annual quality reporting. “

“Childcare workers often work with limited or scarce resources and when the pandemic broke out the consequences for the childcare industry were devastating.” said Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “The pandemic has only exacerbated the fact that daycare is vital for working families. This program will provide much-needed financial assistance to facilities and workers in southern Illinois to help them recover and continue to perform the critical service they provide to our communities. “

“Teachers and staff have a huge impact on our children’s lives and are the main reason for their success at school when they are in school rather than at home,” he said State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “I am delighted that, among others, Decatur Day Care was selected to receive this scholarship. This grant finances a program that most families need. Childcare is expensive and it is crucial that we support our teachers and staff, especially during this time that has been difficult for everyone. “

“The pilot program for rural childcare fits in perfectly with the Decatur day-care center.” explained Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur). “It will help employ more teachers and support staff and increase salaries to keep high quality teachers. It is an honor for Decatur Day Care Center to be selected for this wonderful pilot program! “

“The inflow of these funds for our rural day-care centers comes at a critical time.” declared Rep. Norine Hammond (D-Macomb). “The children cared for in the We Care Center are 100% children of low-income families. Families who urgently need this help. “

The following centers are taking part in the pilot project:

  • Amity Learning Center, Freeport
  • Bright Daycare For Beginners, LLC, Harrisburg
  • Bright Start Children’s and Family Education Center, Mount Vernon
  • Buckeroo Early Education Center, Inc., Flora
  • Bumblebee Child Care Center & Pre-K, Mt. Vernon
  • Mary’s House in Centralia, Centralia
  • Decatur day care, Decatur
  • Educational Child Care Center, Jacksonville
  • Kiddie Fellow Early Childhood Center, Fairfield
  • Children’s Day, Murphysboro
  • Knox County YMCA Early Learning Center, Galesburg
  • Little Angels Learning Center, Harrisburg
  • Malones Early Learning Center, Inc., Carterville
  • Murry’s Child Development Center, DeSoto
  • Prairieland Daycare and Learning Center, Inc., Morris
  • Presbyterian Church Daycare, Jacksonville
  • Primrose Academy, Sandoval
  • Rainbow Day Care Center, Inc., Eldorado
  • RBC Early Education, LLC dba KidZone, Olney
  • Robin’s Nest, Carbondale
  • Robin’s Nest, Carterville
  • Aquarius step by step in Ottawa
  • Step by step McKinley in Ottawa
  • Stepping Stones Children’s Center II, LLC, Charleston
  • Stepping Stones Children’s Center II, LLC, Mattoon
  • Sunny Days Childcare and Learning Center, Vandalia
  • The learning zone, Mattoon
  • The Little Schoolhouse, LLC, Mattoon
  • Yellow Brick Street Learning Adventure, Marion

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