Overview

Illinois is home to 4 percent of the nation’s children 0–5. It has a long history of commitment to early childhood, with more than $2.2 billion in federal and state dollars invested in programs serving young children. In addition to providing preschool programs for decades, Illinois has led the nation in investments in infants and toddlers, anchored by a long-standing commitment to funding home visiting and doula services and the birth-to-3 set-aside component of its State Board of Education early childhood education program. By law, a portion of each preschool dollar is invested into home visiting and center-based infant-toddler care. New leadership from governor J.B. Pritzker — who has a long history of philanthropic support for early childhood, with a focus on infants and toddlers — has increased momentum for additional investments.

The following annual funding breakout, map, and program and service descriptions are not exhaustive of all early childhood expenditures but are intended to be a primer on the state’s complex early childhood system.

Annual Early Childhood Funding Breakout

*Prevention Initiative includes center-based care and home visiting.
**Budget data for children 0-5 is not available.

Map of Illinois’ Early Childhood Funding

Community-based early childhood center

Licensed providers of early learning and care for groups of children in a commercial facility.

K-12 schools

Schools with preschool, Head Start or other early childhood service offerings

Family child care home

Licensed providers of early learning and care for groups of children in a private home.

Family, friends, and neighbors

License-exempt individuals who care for children in a private home.

Child and family support entities

Organizations and agencies that provide a range of services including home visiting, special education, nutrition and other health related supports.

Hospitals and clinics

The public and private hospitals and clinics that provide health services to children.

Map Demo

Click each service/program name to view the funding stream

Types of Program & Service Descriptions

Click for more detail

Head Start

Head Start (HS), Early Head Start (EHS), Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start
  • What is the program/service?
    Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children from birth to age 5 and their families. Many Head Start programs also provide Early Head Start (EHS), which is a comprehensive child development program for low-income pregnant women, infants, and toddlers (from birth through 2), including young children with disabilities. Illinois also has Migrant and Seasonal Head Start as well as Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships.
  • Who is the provider?
    K–12 schools, operators of community-based early childhood centers, some family childcare homes, and child and family support entities.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    $347.6 (FY17)

    Head Start funds are awarded directly to eligible program operators at the local level. Operators can use contract funds for a wide range of program expenses including operations, professional development, quality improvement, and investments in technology. Additional grants for professional development are also included in grants and may be used for technology as well. Regional technical assistance centers receive separate funding and may choose to leverage technology.

  • Who benefits?
    44,000 children were served in Head Start and Early Head Start (FY18).

Preschool for All and Prevention Initiative

  • What is the program/service?
    Preschool for All (PFA) is a birth-to-5 funding stream that includes preschool, home visiting, and center-based infant-toddler care. PFA provides preschool programming for 3- and 4-year-olds, with an enrollment priority for children who have risk factors for school success. This funding covers the Prevention Initiative (PI), which funds home visiting and center-based services for infants and toddlers from families with risk factors.
  • Who is the provider?
    PFA: School-based early childhood centers in K–12 schools and operators of community-based early childhood centers.
    PI: Operators of community-based early childhood centers and child and family support entities. Some of these services are provided in the child’s home.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    $493.7 million (FY19)

    Operators and individuals can use contract funds for a wide range of program expenses including operations, professional development, quality improvement, and investments in technology.

  • Who benefits?
    89,000 children 0–5 years of age benefit from these services, including 75,000 in the PFA program and 13,700 infants and toddlers in the PI program (FY18).

Title I Preschool

  • What is the program/service?
    K–12 schools and other local education agencies (LEAs) with a concentration of low-income children receive targeted funds under Part A (Title I) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA), which provides financial assistance to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Title 1 funds may be used by LEAs to fund early childhood education programs for eligible children that are subject to the performance standards of the Head Start Act.
  • Who is the provider?
    K–12 schools.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    Data on the amount of Title 1 funds allocated to preschool and early childhood programs is not available.

    School districts have flexibility in how they spend their Title 1 funds to help ensure all children are able to meet academic standards; the wide range of program expenses includes operations, professional development, quality improvement, and investments in technology.

  • Who benefits?
    Data on numbers of children served not available.

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

  • What is the program/service?
    The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides childcare subsidies to low-income working families and those engaged in education or training activities to pay for childcare. The CCAP funds are a mix of state general funds, federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding.
  • Who is the provider?
    K–12 schools, operators of community-based early childhood centers, family childcare homes, and family, friends, and neighbors.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    $1.2 billion total (FY19) including $403 million in state general funds, $291 million in CCDF funds, $485 million from TANF, and $5.2 million of other federal funds for a wage supplement program.

    This funding is used to issue payments to the childcare provider, with some funding set aside for administering agencies’ overhead costs. Operators and individuals that accept children with subsidies can use funds for a wide range of expenses including operations, professional development, quality improvement, and investments in technology. These funds also support childcare resource and referral services, provider quality enhancements, and workforce development initiatives.

  • Who benefits?
    121,000 children 0–5 average monthly enrollment (FY18).

Special Education

Early Intervention, Early Childhood Special Education
  • What is the program/service?
    Illinois’ Early Intervention (EI) program provides resources and supports to infants and toddlers, from birth to 3, with diagnosed disabilities or developmental issues. Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) serves children 3 through 5 years of age and their families.

    Both programs are funded through a combination of state funds and federal funding through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — Early Intervention through IDEA Part C and Early Childhood Special Education through IDEA Part B.

  • Who is the provider?
    K–12 schools, operators of community-based early childhood centers, child and family support entities, and hospitals and clinics.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    $306 million in total funding (FY19); $276.7 million for the Early Intervention program, including $97.6 million in State General Fund and a $180 million fund to disburse payments from family fees, insurance company payments, federal Medicaid reimbursements, and state funds; $29.2 million for Early Childhood Special Education funded from IDEA Part B (FY19).

    $306 million in total funding (FY19); $276.7 million for the Early Intervention program, including $97.6 million in State General Fund and a $180 million fund to disburse payments from family fees, insurance company payments, federal Medicaid reimbursements, and state funds; $29.2 million for Early Childhood Special Education funded from IDEA Part B (FY19).

  • Who benefits?
    22,000 infants and toddlers are served in the EI program (FY18) and 37,000 children 3–5 years of age through the ECSE (2017–2018 school year).

Home Visiting

  • What is the program/service?
    Home visiting programs in Illinois are funded through the federal Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) and two budget lines in the state Department of Human Services (DHS) Budget, offering evidence-based home visiting programs and parent coaching support to expecting and new parents who are at risk for poor health, educational, economic, and social outcomes. (Prevention Initiatives funds in the Early Childhood Block Grant at the State Board of Education also pay for home visiting but are included in the Early Childhood Block Grant section above.)
  • Who is the provider?
    Child and family support entities and hospitals and clinics. Services are generally provided in the child’s home.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    $25 million including $16.9 million for DHS Home Visiting (FY19) and approximately $8 million for MIECHV funded services (FY18).

    Operators that provide home visitation services can use contract funds for a wide range of program expenses including operations, professional development, quality improvement, and investments in technology.

  • Who benefits?
    2,900 families are served through DHS (FY18), and 900 families are served per year with MIECHV-funded services.

Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

Illinois Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • What is the program/service?
    The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federally funded health and nutrition program that provides supplemental foods, nutrition education, and referrals to health care to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are determined to be at nutritional risk.
  • Who is the provider?
    Community-based early childhood centers, K–12 schools, hospitals and clinics including migrant health centers and camps, Indian health service facilities, county health departments, and child and family support entities including community centers and public housing.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    $290.5 million (FY19)

    WIC funds go to state agencies to operate the program. Funds are used for a variety of purposes including food acquisition by participants as well as funds for eligible services. Some funds may be used for program operation including technology.

  • Who benefits?
    100,700 infants and children and 33,000 pregnant or postpartum women (2018 state report to USDA).

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program

All Kids Program
  • What is the program/service?
    Medicaid and Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT): Medicaid provides health coverage to eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government. In Illinois, Medicaid coverage for children is provided through the All Kids Program.

    Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) serves uninsured children up to age 19 in families with incomes too high to qualify them for Medicaid. States have broad discretion in setting their income eligibility standards, and eligibility varies across states. In Illinois, the All Kids Program offers many of Illinois’ children comprehensive health care that includes doctors’ visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, and medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers.

  • Who is the provider?
    Hospitals and clinics as well as child and family support entities.
  • How much funding is there and what is it for?
    All Kids expenditure for FY18 for children 0–5 was $1.06 billion dollars.

    Subject to applicable statutes and regulations, these funding streams can cover a range of services, and a variety of technologies are used for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

  • Who benefits?
    Data on numbers of children 0–5 served is not available.

This report was made possible by the generous support from Omidyar Network.