Roundup of State Legislation Impacting Young Children

Erikson Institute’s Policy and Leadership department annually monitors state legislation that impacts the wellbeing of young children, their families, and communities. Here is a roundup of legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly that is awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature to become law. If you have questions or want to learn more about any of these bills, please email [email protected]. To learn more about the work of our Policy and Leadership team, visit

    • HB2878 – requires the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College board to create the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity to serve the needs of the incumbent early childhood workforce and the employers of early childhood educators and to advance streamlining, coordinating, and improving accessibility to degree completion pathways at institutions of higher education.
    • HB0158 – (already signed into law) among other provisions, expands the Medicaid program to cover home visiting and doula services.
    • HB3308 – preserves the use of telehealth services and authorizes full payment parity for services covered by private insurance, including Early Intervention services.
    • HB3620 – codified in state law the (current) income eligibility threshold of 200% of the federal poverty level for the Child Care Assistance Program.
    • SB0267 – improves data collection so that public colleges and universities can better understand student parents and how to best support them.
    • HB3821 – creates the Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare Task Force which will examine the foster system’s disproportionate impact on Black Families and communities.
    • SB2017 – reduces the matching requirements for qualifying Early Childhood Construction Grant applicants so they do not have to pay as much for their projects.

The state budget this year saw some level funding, cuts, and increases to education spending for K-12.  Because of the federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan and lower levels of participation due to the pandemic, this should not bar families from receiving services, according to Erikson Associate Director of Policy Verónica Cortez. “However, we must continue to advocate for more early childhood funding in the coming years so that we can continue to expand programs,” she says.

The state budget can be found here and a good analysis of its impact on early childhood has been done by our partners at Illinois Action for Children.

Erikson Updates

Erikson Classroom

Update on Erikson On-site Activities

As Chicago and Illinois near the final phase of a full reopening, Erikson will resume in-person courses for on-campus programs this Fall while continuing to offer students the flexibility of remote sections where possible. Erikson’s top priority will remain the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, clients, and the entire community. We will continue to monitor and comply with COVID safety recommendations from the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will survey students and staff for their feedback to assist with planning.

Commencement Behind the Scenes

First Virtual Commencement a Success

More than 1400 viewers attended our virtual Commencement on May 10 for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, which featured our Board Chair, Elenne Song; academic leaders Pamela Epley PhD; Amanda Moreno, PhD; Gillian McNamee, PhD; Samina Hadi-Tabassum, EdD; and Cassandra McKay Jackson, PhD; keynote speaker and Erikson alumnus Jamilah Jor’dan, PhD; student speakers Enid Hopkins, MSECE ’20 and Marilyn Barnes, MSW ’21; and last but not least, our dapper emcee, David Saenz from Enrollment. If you missed the event, you can watch it “on demand” at this link.

Schreiber Foundation Social Justice Scholarship

Thanks to a generous gift from the John and Kathleen Schreiber Foundation, Erikson established a new scholarship to support graduate students who are passionate about equity and social justice demonstrated by past and present volunteer, professional, and educational experiences. This Fall, we will award five students each this $15,000 scholarship. For more information, please email: [email protected].

Erikson is an Inaugural Member of a New National Association

Independent graduate schools across the country that came together to address challenges during the pandemic have launched a new organization–the National Association of Standalone Graduate Schools– and Erikson is an inaugural member. Formed during COVID-19 relief negotiations for higher education, the coalition will continue to advocate for increased stimulus dollars and for more permanent funding streams in anticipation of Congressional re-authorization of the Higher Education Act.

TEC Center Study Seeks Parent Input

Parents of preschool (age 4) or Kindergarten students can earn a $10 Amazon gift card for 30 minutes of in-home participation in our TEC Center’s study on how children learn from Zoom. Interested parents–please fill out this form. Thank you!

June 2021 Events

Register for EDI Conference Presentation

Jaclyn Vasquez and Rebecca Halperin of Policy and Leadership’s Early Development Instrument (EDI) team will present this month at the June 8-10 Partner Plan Act conference, Equity from the Start: Reimagining the Early Childhood System. The team’s presentation, “Grassroots and Grass tops: How a shared data set can promote community change” will focus on the EDI as a foundational, shared data set and will feature panelists from Greater East St. Louis and Rockford as they dive into how the data has been used in their communities. Visit the link above to learn more or register.

Virtual Information Sessions for Prospective Students

Erikson’s Enrollment Management team will host three virtual information sessions in June geared towards prospective students. Learn more about our Online MSW Program on June 3, Financial Aid on June 10, and our Early Childhood Education programs on June 16.

Looking Ahead—Training for the Upcoming School Year

Language and Literacy Partners is offering two online PD opportunities next school year for teachers and administrators:

    • New Teacher Series: A year-long system of support for K-3rd grade teachers in their first three years of teaching or new to using a balanced literacy model; and
    • Storytelling, Drawing, and Writing: a 4-part series that supports PreK-3rd grade teachers in launching writing in the classroom and sustaining the practice across the school day.

Contact Sarah Morrow ([email protected]) for more information or to register. CPS teams may qualify for financial support through our foundation partnerships on a first come, first served basis.

Erikson in the News

Juliet Bromer

Covid-19 Relief Came Too Late for In-home Day Cares That Shuttered Permanently

“It took a pandemic for home based child care to be recognized, or for child care at all, to be recognized as an essential infrastructure,” says Erikson’s Juliet Bromer, PhD in an interview on WBEZ with host Susie An about the impact of COVID-19 on home-based child care. Dr. Bromer is a nationally recognized expert with more than 20 years of experience on the topic. She currently leads three national research studies focused on home-based child care. You can listen to the interview here.

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About Erikson

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Graduate Education

Recognized for our groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood, Erikson specializes in preparing child development, education, and social work leaders to improve the lives of young children, families, and their communities. Click here for more information on our degree and certificate programs, or email our admissions team.

Clinical and Community Services

As we adapt to these unexpected and challenging times due to COVID-19, Erikson’s Center for Children and Families is offering virtual mental health services to parents, caregivers, and children, as well as crisis counseling and consultation to support first responders and early childcare providers and teachers. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.

We have also re-opened our River North clinic for services that require in-person assessments, including Early Intervention Medical and Neurodevelopmental Diagnostic Evaluations.

Our Fussy Baby Network, which helps families struggling with their infants’ crying, sleeping, or feeding, has also pivoted to provide more of its services, like home visits, in a virtual environment.

Policy and Leadership

Erikson’s Policy and Leadership department engages leaders in government, business, and nonprofit sectors to inform effective policies that benefit children and families. They offer unique programming that equips decision-makers and influencers with the resources, skills, and deep knowledge about early childhood development that will support their efforts to make lasting change. Learn more about our Policy and Leadership.

Give to Erikson

The first 1,100 days of life set the stage for a child’s long-term physical and emotional health, socioeconomic trajectory, life expectancy, happiness, and well-being. Can we count on you to make a gift to strengthen our ability to serve children and families, as well as our students, faculty, and staff, during this time? Your support for Erikson prepares the heroes in young children’s lives—teachers, social workers, civic leaders, parents and caregivers—to get them safely through this crisis so they can soar into promising futures. Please donate here.

More Ways To Connect

Learn more about Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative and TEC Center.