The Policy and Advocacy Committee’s purpose is to educate and engage ILAIMH membership in early childhood mental health policy and advocacy by promoting the inclusion of the Association’s infant mental health expertise in state level committees, coalitions, and advocacy groups that are impacting early childhood policies, programs, and systems; and informing ILAIMH members of efforts to improve public policies in Illinois that impact the lives of young children and their families.
- The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Sunday, June 2nd. Legislators reached a bipartisan agreement on a $40 billion state spending plan, and passed other key pieces of legislation. The bipartisan budget bill includes:
- A $50 million increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant, representing a 10.1% increase.
- A $12 million increase to Early Intervention funds, representing a 12.4% increase. To accommodate the growing caseload and workforce pressures.
- A $28.8 million increase in funds for the Child Care Assistance Program, representing a 7.2% increase which should allow more families to access the program.
- Level funding for the Parents Too Soon and Healthy Families home visiting programs at $16.9 million.
- An added $100 million for the Department of Children and Family Services.
- An additional $100 million for early childhood construction grants, for construction or renovation of early childhood facilities, with priority given to projects located in those communities in this State with the underserved population of young children.
- An additional $40 million for mental health and substance use services delivered through Medicaid, as well as $7 million in targeted new spending to bolster treatment in underserved communities.
- An additional $8.5 million for supportive housing.
Increased funding will be supported through a combination of new revenue sources, including the regulation of new industries and state fee adjustments. Legislators also passed legislation to allow voters the option of moving to a graduated income tax, also called the “Fair Tax,” a structure similar to that used by the federal government and in numerous other states, including several in the Midwest region.
- See the link below for updates on the legislation that was passed this year and that will now move onto the Governor to either sign or veto. This legislative session continues into next year. The bills that did not move forward and have been “re-referred” may be brought up again when the legislature reconvenes in January, be reintroduced as new bills, or may not move forward.
- ISBE will be holding its meetings in different locations across the state this coming year. They have identified “major topics” to discuss at each meeting, which include evidence-based funding, procurement, budget hearings, IL-EMPOWER, and others. Of greatest interest is the January 15th, 2020 meeting (in Springfield) where the major topic is listed as “Early Childhood.” ISBE also published its regulatory agenda for FY20 and they plan to approve the early childhood expulsion rules at the August meeting, effective September 2019. Once the board approves the rules internally, they will be sent to JCAR to be posted publicly for 2nd comment. Also in September, ISBE will put out new proposed rules around ECBG programs and how they collect and review their chronic absence data. More information can be found at https://www.isbe.net/board
- In the federal legislature, appropriators are working to determine the federal budget for FY2020. Senators Casey, Smith, and Hirono authored a Dear Colleague letter asking appropriators to provide robust funding for child care and early learning programs in FY 2020 and it was signed by over 40 Senators, including Duckworth and Durbin. President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2020 budget, “A Budget for a Better America,” on March 11
- The 2020 Census is quickly approaching and http://ilcountmein2020.org/ is leading IL’s advocacy efforts. Children under 5 are often underreported which can have a great impact on funding and service delivery. The 2010 Census missed 1 in 10 young children, reducing for a decade federal funding for programs that help children thrive. The Partnership for America’s Children is hosting a webinar on June 24th on Counting Young Children in the 2020 Census: Strategy and Resources and you may register at: https://cc.readytalk.com/registration/#/?meeting=trwb6xlpsaj4&campaign=dzmuwtdk0a3c
- We submitted 2nd comments on Rule 140 to HFS and JCAR. They were finalized and they unfortunately did not take our recommended suggested language to utilize the DC0-5 crosswalk. We will try to influence the development of any procedure manuals and/or best practice guidance.
- May was Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, May 6th was Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, and May 15th was Trauma-Informed Awareness Day. We participated in advocacy and public awareness events throughout.
101st General Assembly Legislation
The ILAIMH Policy & Advocacy Committee follows activity in the state legislation in order to disseminate information and promote activism among our members.
We are tracking the progress of several bills; click to read details of current legislation in progress.