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Every Child Ready Chicago

A collective initiative to build the early childhood systems infrastructure needed to ensure all of the city’s children enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive.

Linda Francis June 28, 2021
  • Early Learning and Care
  • Blog

Chicago is a key part of Start Early’s story and identity. Since our founding in 1982, we are proud to have supported each mayoral administration in their efforts to create an exemplary early childhood system here in our hometown.

Mother embracing young childIn the fall of 2020, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot launched Every Child Ready Chicago (ECRC), a multiyear, public-private partnership to align the various prenatal-to-five systems and supports serving Chicago’s children and families under a shared vision of success and build the early childhood systems infrastructure needed for thousands more children to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Through its work, the initiative seeks to create a strong and equitable early childhood system where all parents and children, particularly those in under-resourced communities, have access to quality services. By partnering with parents and communities, the initiative can build a forward-moving plan capable of withstanding changes in leadership throughout the city that are bound to happen.

Start Early’s Role

Our approach to improving early learning systems centers on developing strong program, advocacy and research partnerships. As a first step, Start Early supported the Mayor’s Office in bringing together a diverse group of agencies, experts, and organizations for the launch of the Early Childhood Working Group.

As the work transitions into the next phase, Start Early will continue to play a project facilitation role, working collaboratively to engage private partners and stakeholders and facilitating family and community engagement to center their voices in the work. We will also continue to contribute our policy, advocacy and systems perspective and share lessons from this important work with other cities and states across the country.

About the Author

Linda Francis headshot

Linda Francis

Former Backbone Director

Linda Francis led cross-functional initiatives focused on improving early childhood systems, which includes strategy, communications, state and partner engagement, continuous quality improvement, and shared progress tracking.

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