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.
- The Early Intervention provider rate increase was confirmed and implemented by IDHS.
- 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:
- 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
- DCFS posted their first draft of the rules for the expulsion legislation and the public comment period is open until 11/16/19. You may view the rules here (starting on page 91):
ISBE approved their 2nd draft at their September board meeting and so those will be sent to JCAR soon, where they will then be open for public comment.
- The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development is beginning its planning for round two of the federal Preschool Development Grant funding.
- 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 proposed 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.
- Federal budget planning is underway. Earlier this summer, the House of Representatives passed a “minibus” package with substantial funding increases for many of the federal early learning and care programs that fall under the jurisdiction of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations subcommittee. In August, Congress passed a two-year budget deal setting defense and non-defense spending levels for FY2020 and FY2021, which was necessary to avoid across-the-board funding cuts to non-defense discretionary programs. With these new levels in place, the Senate then moved forward in September with markup of its FY2020 appropriations bill, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed shockingly small increases or level funding for key services, despite significant increases approved by the House in June. Funding allocated in the Senate to the bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education was more than $3 billion less than the House bill. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which received a major $2.4 billion increase in the House, was increased by only $25 million in the Senate. Head Start would grow by only $50 million, compared with $1.5 billion—including $525 million for Early Head Start (EHS)—in the House. Many other programs that support health and well-being, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which includes funding for early intervention services, were level funded. Even small increases would not be enough to account for inflation, placing current levels of services at risk in many programs. Congress must now still agree to and pass FY2020 appropriations bills before the current fiscal year ends on September 30. However, House and Senate leaders will likely not be able to reach a deal before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2019. Therefore, in order to avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers have introduced an intermittent spending bill known as a “continuing resolution” to fund the government at FY2019 levels through November 21, 2019, while they continue to negotiate a final FY2020 funding bill.
- “Public Charge” is a term used by US immigration officials to refer to a person who is considered likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. An immigrant found likely to become a “public charge” may be denied admission to the U.S. or lawful permanent resident status. In some circumstances, people can be deported based on public charge grounds. Current ‘Public Charge’ test affects immigrants primarily dependent on the government for Cash assistance (i.e. TANF, SSI) and/or institutionalization for long-term care. A finalized public charge regulation with detrimental proposed changes was posted for public inspection on August 14, making October 15 the effective date. This is the full text for the Rule: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/08/14/2019-17142/inadmissibility-on-public-charge-grounds.
Currently Protecting Immigrant Families Illinois is working on a rapid response plan. Public comment documents are being updated and will be posted to the website: https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/
Latino Policy Forum is also hosting a webinar (Spanish and English)
Date: October 2nd
Blocks of time: 1:30-2:45 PM
3:00 -4:15 PM
- 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 comments to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Maternal Child Health Title V Block Grant 2020 Application/2018 Annual Report and the 2020 Illinois Maternal Child Health Title V Block Grant Action Plan.
- We signed onto a letter with the Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives Coalition urging the Governor to pass the Children and Young Adult Mental Health Crisis Act, which was signed into law on August 26th.
- We submitted comments on Housing Action Illinois and Shriver Center’s June 26 Keep Families Together Day of Action to speak out against the Trump administration’s proposed HUD rule that would force families of mixed immigration status to break up to receive HUD housing assistance, to forego the assistance altogether, or face eviction from their homes.
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.