Illinois Origin Story

Start Early’s deep ties to Illinois have shaped us as an organization and enhance our work across the country to this day.

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Nearly 40 years ago, Start Early was founded as a nonprofit public-private partnership providing home visiting services to new parents in rural Illinois and on the South Side of Chicago. We have since grown and expanded our work nationwide, delivering best-in-class doula, home visiting, and Early Head Start and Head Start programs and advocating for thoughtful policies and adequate funding at local, state and federal levels.

With such deep ties to who we are as an organization, we continue to broaden our early learning programs and support, professional development opportunities, research and policy and advocacy efforts here in our home state of Illinois.

In partnership with state and local organizations and community-based partners, our work throughout the state strategically shapes the foundational elements of Illinois’ early learning system. Each component of our work is designed, implemented and sustained to successfully achieve Illinois’ goal to provide equitable quality services that children and families need beginning before birth and extending through the first five years.

Our successes and lessons learned in Illinois are enhanced and scaled for our work across the country.