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.
Recent State Updates
The Illinois legislature is on break.
The Illinois legislative session continues into 2020 and currently, the legislature is on break until the end of January. The bills that did not move forward in last year’s legislative session and have been “re-referred” may be brought up again when the legislature reconvenes at the end of January, be reintroduced as new bills, or may not move forward.
How to request a temporary Medicaid card
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has released information on the process to request a temporary Medicaid card (T-Card) for those on Medicaid who are experiencing a delay in application processing: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=116877&newssidebar=27893
HealthChoice Illinois enrollment of Special Needs Children deadline extended
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) released a provider notice to extend the effective date for HealthChoice Illinois enrollment of Special Needs Children to February 1, 2020: https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/MedicalProviders/notices/Pages/prn191029a.aspx
Children under the legal custody or guardianship of DCFS will enroll in a specialty health plan (YouthCare) administered by IlliniCare Health. Former Youth in Care will be auto assigned to IlliniCare Health, with the option to select from other health plans serving under the existing HealthChoice Illinois managed care program. All other Special Needs Children populations will enroll in a HealthChoice Illinois managed care health plan.
Providers serving these Special Needs Children populations are encouraged to continue contract discussions with the managed care plans. Providers who are not enrolled to participate in HFS’ Medical Programs must go through IMPACT enrollment prior to pursuing contracts with the plans.
Questions regarding this notice may be directed to the Department’s Bureau of Managed Care at 217-524-7478.
Illinois is awarded a Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 Renewal Grant
From 2020 through 2022 Illinois will receive $13.4 million per year from the PDG B-5 Renewal Grant, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education. Activities proposed in the three-year grant will expand upon work conducted in 2019 through the Initial PDG B-5 grant and will enable Illinois to increase access to quality programs in multiple settings and to strengthen programs’ support of children’s social/emotional development, kindergarten transitions, the early childhood workforce, cross-system data, and family voice in the system.
Rate Increase for Child Care Providers
Effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is increasing the maximum child care payment rates for providers. The new child care rates and the announcement can be found at:
Chicago Public Schools Pre-K transportation policy for children with IEPs
After many months of advocates working in collaboration with ISBE legal staff and an ISBE board member, CPS has reinstated the Pre-K transportation policy for children with IEPs who attend community-based Head Start programs. If these children are required to attend a CPS blended or self-contained classroom to get their special education and related services, CPS will transport them to, from, and in-between home, the community program and CPS school, as desired by the family. The policy was also extended to children who attend child care programs.
Many families lost their transportation and placements while the unlawful policy was in place, and families and providers need to have this information. Families must use a “purple form” to request the transportation, and below is the link to the policy manual and forms on the ODLSS website:
Become a Member of the Pyramid Model Master Cadre
The Illinois Pyramid Model Leadership Team is seeking applications from individuals who are willing to make a three-year commitment to become part of a statewide Master Cadre Member of Pyramid Model Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Providers to support ISBE-funded programs. Applications must be submitted by ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are due on or before January 22, 2020. If you have any questions about the application, send inquiries to email@example.com. The application may be found at:
Prenatal to Age 3 Initiative
There is also a statewide Prenatal to Age 3 Initiative (PN3) that is to develop a strategic policy agenda and implementation plan focused on prioritizing the expansion of high quality services to low-income infants, toddlers, and their families. In Illinois, the policy agenda and implementation plan will seek to provide services to an additional 25% of Illinois’ infant/toddler population by 2025 (100,000 low-income infants and toddlers).
The PDG and PN3 planning are hoping to align, along with the Governor’s School Financing Commission to ensure that the early childhood system will be adequately funded. Within these are opportunities to raise up quality indicators, such as mental health consultation and so the Mental Health Consultation Initiative is working on cost-modeling so that proposals can be taken to these bodies.
Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition releases Seven Core Content Areas
The Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition released their updated Seven Core Content Areas of Childhood Trauma for Professional Development:
The tool is to be used for expanding competencies and improving skills of human service professionals from diverse sectors on childhood trauma. It serves as a baseline of information and recommendations to be included in all introductory orientations, trainings, and other professional development sessions related to childhood trauma.
Recent Federal Updates:
House and Senate negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement on FY2020 appropriations bills and the President signed them. Included were:
- A $550 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant;
- An increase of $550 million for Head Start/Early Head Start (EHS), of which $100 million is set aside to expand EHS, including through EHS-Child Care Partnerships;
- An increase of $2 million for the Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Grant Program;
- A $7 million increase for the Infant-Toddler Court Program;
- A $7 million increase for Part C Early Intervention; and
- A $25 million increase for PDG Birth through Five.
The 2020 Census is quickly approaching and IL Count Me In 2020 (http://ilcountmein2020.org/) is leading IL’s advocacy efforts. Children under 5 are often under-reported 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.
Affordable Care Act
The 5th Circuit Court issued a ruling on the Texas v Azar case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This ruling found that the individual mandate was unconstitutional but remanded the case back to the District Court in Texas to decide whether the remaining portions of the law can stand. This is deeply troubling as the Texas Judge ruled that the entire ACA should be struck down when he first heard this case. No one’s health care should be impacted in the immediate or near term. The District Judge will issue an updated ruling some months from now and the ruling will not be enforced as it continues to get appealed, likely all the way to the Supreme Court. There should be no impact on coverage until then. Nevertheless, this will only add further uncertainty to our health insurance marketplace and indirectly harm our collective work in ensuring health coverage for all Illinoisans. Protect Our Care Illinois and Heartland Alliance have denounced this ruling and are collaborating with national partners on a response strategy and will share more information and opportunities.
- The Trauma-Informed Schools Act of 2019 has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor by Congresswoman Katherine Clark of Massachusetts. If signed into law, this act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act to align federal funding sources to invest in trauma-informed education for teacher professional development and after-school programming, as well define “trauma-informed practices” for federal education laws:
- U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.), alongside Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), introduced the bipartisan Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act, which would ensure school leaders are able to effectively support early education teachers and provide children with high-quality early learning programs.
- We submitted comments to the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on their proposed rules for Public Act 100-105 (the early childhood expulsion legislation.
- We advocated with Senator Durbin’s office in the federal budget appropriations process. Zero To Three asked a handful of state voices to reach out to key Senate offices to remind them that constituents are watching their budget decisions closely. The advocacy was to make sure in this final round of compromise that the Senate accepts the House’s funding level of $10 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health grants under the 21st Century Cures Act.
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.
The Illinois legislative session continues into next year and currently, the legislature is on break until the end of January. The bills that did not move forward in the previous session and have been “re-referred” may be brought up again when the legislature reconvenes, be reintroduced as new bills, or may not move forward. click to read details of current legislation in progress.