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
State of the State Address
On January 29th, Governor Pritzker delivered his State of the State address and he continued to state that he wants Illinois to become “the best state in the nation for families raising young children, with the nation’s best early childhood education and child care.” The budget address is coming up on February 19th where we will then know the state agencies’ budgets. Here’s where you can watch the State of the State:
101st General Assembly
House and Senate legislators are back in Springfield for session and are beginning to file the bills/legislation that will be voted on this year. The deadline for filing bills is February 14th and after that, the ILAIMH Policy and Advocacy Committee will compile a legislative agenda and list of bills that we are following. In the meantime, see a beginning list of state legislation on the “legislation” tab.
Expansion of Home Visiting Slots
On January 22, Governor Pritzker announced an expansion of home visiting with a plan to serve an additional 500 children this year, and expand 12,500 home visiting slots by 2025. There will be an additional $4.25 million in funding this year and a plan will be developed to maximize federal dollars and expand the program to reach additional eligible families. The administration will also assess compensation and workforce supports necessary to attract and retain a qualified home visiting workforce. 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.
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
The Governor also announced a child care rate increase. Effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is increasing the maximum child care payment rates for providers. Early childhood programs who provide services for families enrolled in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) will be reimbursed at higher rates. To reduce the burden on families, the new policy also urges programs who charge the general public a rate higher than the maximum rate to accept the state maximum rate as payment in full when serving CCAP enrolled families.The new child care rates and the announcement can be found at:
Early Childhood Block Grant Request for Proposals
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released its FY21 Request for Proposal opportunities for Preschool for All (PFA), Preschool for All-Expansion (PFA-E) and Prevention Initiative (PI) funds. Proposals are due in the ISBE offices no later than 4 p.m. March 23, 2020. The total amount of funding available for the grants is contingent on appropriation by the Illinois General Assembly. For more information and to access the RFP documents/application, visit ISBE’s website.
Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding Commission
29 members have been appointed to the newly created Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Funding tasked with taking a fresh look at the state’s entire ECEC system. The group met for the first time on December 16, 2019, and its work will center around establishing funding goals and funding mechanisms to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age five. The group will meet monthly through January 2021 and is comprised of child care providers, advocates, educators, and legislators from around the state. Cost-modeling around the early care and education system, home visiting, Early Intervention, and mental health consultation are all being taken to this body to determine what it would take to fully and adequately fund a robust early childhood system.
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.
Early Childhood Advocacy Day
Save the Date for Early Childhood Advocacy Day in Springfield on April 29th! Look for updates and upcoming registration at:
Recent Federal Updates:
On August 14, 2019, the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final “public charge” rule. States, counties, and non-profit organizations challenged the rule in court, and it was temporarily prevented from going into effect as scheduled. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows the administration to implement the new regulations while litigation continues. The new standards will go into effect on February 24, 2020, meaning that any green card applications that are postmarked or submitted electronically as of the 24th will be subject to the new, broader public charge test. In IL, however, a statewide injunction is blocking it from being implemented here. The DHS final rule dramatically expands the definition of public charge and requires officials to closely examine and weigh factors like health, age, income, and skills (including English language skills). The final rule also allows officials to consider more public programs. These changes are designed to make it harder for people with low and moderate incomes to pass the test. The DHS final rule will affect immigrants who are applying for lawful permanent residency (a green card) within the United States. Public charge does not apply to refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable populations. Public charge is not relevant when immigrants apply for U.S. citizenship. Many immigrants are not affected by the changes to public charge rules. But we know the chilling effect will extend far beyond those directly affected, and that children comprise a large share of people who stand to lose important services due to fear and confusion. CLASP has a fact sheet with more information and Protecting Immigrant Families – IL is leading the statewide efforts:
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.
- We signed onto a letter with Healthy Illinois and EverThrive Illinois requesting that Governor Pritzker include $30 million in his upcoming budget proposal to provide health coverage to undocumented immigrants throughout the 12-month postpartum period. The state recently filed the Illinois Continuity of Care and Administrative Simplification 1115 Waiver, which included a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage for from 60-days postpartum to the entire 12-month postpartum period. Expanding coverage from 60-days to 12-months will save lives and will allow moms and birth parents to receive health services throughout the postpartum period. We’re happy that HFS included qualified pregnant women immigrants below the 5-year bar in the 1115 Waiver Proposal, but undocumented immigrants were not included in the expansion. This exclusion is unjust, especially considering our state currently provides coverage through the Moms and Babies program for all income eligible moms regardless of their immigration status through 60-days postpartum.
Federal and State Legislation
The ILAIMH Policy & Advocacy Committee follows activity in state and federal legislation in order to disseminate information and promote activism among our members.
The Illinois legislature is in the 101st General Assembly and Congress is in the 116th, 2nd session. click to read details of current legislation in progress.