As an institution working toward improving the lives of our youngest learners, we are happy to see an increase in the state budget aimed at support services for children and their families. Erikson Institute applauds the Illinois General Assembly on its advocacy for investment and Governor Pritzker for signing the budget for the fiscal year 2023 into law. Here are the highlights:
- $54.4 million increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant
- $7 million increase to Early Intervention Services
- $536,000 increase to the Healthy Families home visiting program
- $480,000 increase for Maternal Child Home Visiting (formerly Parents Too Soon)
- $2 million to the Illinois Department of Human Services for a new Off-Hours Child Care Grant Program to help licensed child care facilities expand operating hours to include off hours, night, or sleep time child care for first responders.
- $2.5 million to the office of the Illinois Treasurer for the Children’s Savings Accounts Program, which will provide a seed deposit of $50 in a Bright Start 529 college savings account for children born or adopted after December 31, 2022.
Further, the Illinois General Assembly passed several bills that will continue to improve conditions for children, families, and the workforce.
- HB4242 – extends automatic eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program and Early Intervention to parenting youth and families engaged in Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services Extended Family Support Program
- HB1571 – creates the Off-Hours Child Care Grant Program.
- SB3032 – prohibits institutions of higher learning from withholding academic transcripts from current or former students because of any debt owed to the institution.
- SB0157 – expands the Earned Income Credit for all filers; extends eligibility to those 18-25 years old, those over 65 years of age, and those who file with an Individual Tax Identification Number; and provides a one-time child tax credit.
- HB5525 – creates a Commission on Children of Incarcerated Parents within the Illinois Department of Human Services to provide recommendations annually on how to best serve children impacted by the carceral system.
Part of our work at Erikson is to advocate for systemic change and we are excited to see policy changes and financial investments that increase families’ access to support services as well as dismantle barriers for early childhood professionals. We will continue to partner with advocates and providers as well as engage in the We, the Village and Raising Illinois coalitions to support equitable solutions that benefit all children and their families.
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