Gov. Pritzker promises universal home visits to support eligible families by 2025

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE governor’s office

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (January 22, 2020) – Joined by leading advocates for early childhood education and care, Governor JB Pritzker announced a plan to reach universal home visits for eligible families in Illinois by 2025.

“Home visitation supports parents in their all-important role as their child’s first teacher and I’m so proud to announce that we’re putting Illinois on a path to providing universal home visiting services for our most vulnerable families and kids,”said Governor JB Pritzker. “By doing so, we are helping children become better prepared for success in school—expanding their vocabularies, fostering their love of reading and helping them develop social-emotional learning skills. Illinois is now on a path to be the best state in the nation for families to raise young children and this administration will not rest until we reach every child in need.”

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Voluntary home visiting programs provide eligible families with coaching and support, beginning with pregnancy and continuing throughout the first years of the lives of their children. These programs currently serve 20,000 families in Illinois and will be expanded to an additional 12,500 families over the next five years, per the governor’s commitment.

Early childhood experts point to the first three years of a child’s life as critical developmentally; 80 percent of a child’s brain is developed by age 3.

This year, the administration will expand the program by an initial 500 families with $4.25 million in funding, as well as develop the plan to maximize federal dollars and expand the program to universal access for eligible families. This planning will also include an assessment of compensation and other factors relevant to attracting and retaining the necessary staff for this expanded program.

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development will work closely with all relevant state agencies in this work, including the State Board of Education and the Departments of Human Services, Children and Family Services, Public Health and Healthcare and Family Services.

The Governor directed agencies to build a plan that will accommodate the following approximate increases in enrollment:

  • FY22: expand by 2,000 slots
  • FY23: expand by 3,000 slots
  • FY24: expand by 3,500 slots
  • FY25: expand by 3,500 slots
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