About Birth to Five Illinois
Illinois has a goal of becoming the best state in the nation for families raising young children by improving and expanding the delivery of child care and early learning programs for children from birth until they start kindergarten.
In 2019, Governor JB Pritzker established an Early Childhood Funding Commission charged with studying and making recommendations on funding goals and funding mechanisms that provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age five.
The resulting report to the governor and a companion primer made a set of recommendations to ensure all families in Illinois regardless of race, ethnicity, home language, ability, and social circumstance have the services needed to prepare their children for school.
As a first step, Illinois has established an Early Childhood Transformation Team charged with: ensuring early childhood policy is influenced by community voice and data, building a structure for equitable allocation of current and anticipated funding, and making funding stable, predictable, and consistent for early childhood providers.
As part of these transformation efforts, the State has also partnered with the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) to launch Birth to Five Illinois with the goal of creating Birth to Five Action Councils and Family Councils in each of 39 regions, built upon the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Regional Offices of Education (ROE) statewide structure but operating independently.
The Birth to Five Action Councils will include parents and families, service providers, educators, and advocates who will be tasked with identifying service needs in each region.
Information gathered by these Councils will be provided to the State in hopes of informing policy around birth-to-five programs over the next decade, and beyond.
In addition, Birth to Five Councils can serve as regional advocacy bodies to influence local policy, including funding opportunities.