New Illinois program pushes for better early childhood care

“Birth to Five Illinois” fights to even playing field for the youngest Illinoisans
The goal for the funds is to expand and stabilize early childhood development programs.
The goal for the funds is to expand and stabilize early childhood development programs.(WWBT)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - A new program dedicated to early childhood care in Illinois is moving forward. “Birth to Five Illinois” aims to show parents the tools they have to help get kids the care they need early in life.

With regional council managers across the state, the program strives to follow local voices, as they aim to change childhood care and education needed in every community.

The managers responsibilities include hiring Date/Administrative and Family and Community Engagement staff, standing up a Birth to Five Family Council, and a Birth to Five Action council for the region, on top of scanning demographics to gage the needs of the community.

Currently, among the over 800,000 children in the program’s age group, about forty percent live in poverty. And according to Jacqui Jones, an Are Coordinator with Birth to Five Peoria, a lot of children of color are not receiving proper care. “Every kindergarten student in Illinois takes the KIDS assessment. That assessment shows that only 23% of black students and 17% of Latino students are showing up to kindergarten ready to learn.” By having two community councils in each region will help offer solutions.

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