The comprehensive work of Start Early and its Illinois Policy Team is grounded in the fact that the first five years of a child’s life are the most critical for healthy development and long-term well-being. Our vision is for Illinois’ early childhood system to be designed, implemented and sustained to successfully achieve Illinois’ goal of equitably providing a continuum of high-quality early childhood services to children before birth and through age 5. To best support all of our state’s families, services must be culturally, linguistically and ability responsive.
Our policy agenda for Fiscal Year 2024 – Fiscal Year 2027 is representative of our work at the federal, state and local levels (including the City of Chicago) and is comprised of the following priorities:
- Strengthen the infrastructure of Illinois’ core early care and learning system
- Increase investments in and strengthen the design and implementation of Illinois’ core early care and learning programs
- Recruit and retain a representative, well-compensated and qualified workforce
- Improve the health, mental health, economic security and well-being of young children and their families
As outlined in our policy agenda below, we will continue to work broadly across child- and family-serving systems to influence policy change and drive investments that help us reach our goals. We also commit to advance policy change through systems building; legislative, administrative and grassroots advocacy; and consultation and thought leadership.