In October, Illinois Action for Children launched a new video series called “Pieces of the Puzzle: Understanding the Early Childhood System.  These videos were created in response to systems’ providers that work with families to gain more knowledge about the early childhood system so they can make better referrals and connections for families.  Based on our learnings from working in community and with local collaborations over the last few years – Illinois Action for Children sought and secured a grant to develop and disseminate web-based tutorials on publicly funded early childhood programs that comprise our local and state systems. The goal of this project is to support systemic improvements and enhance our ongoing community systems development efforts. The ongoing work aims to promote and support strong local systems that ensure vulnerable children have access to high quality, comprehensive services.

We recently worked with four collaborations – Will County AOK, South Suburban Cook, North Lawndale Innovation Zone and the Pilsen and Little Village Innovation Zone to offer three community viewings.  Various cross-sector partners participated in the viewing such as, child care providers, Early Intervention providers, home visiting providers, Special Education providers, Early Head Start/Head Start providers and health care providers.  Participants shared ideas for further distribution such as partnering with their local doctor offices, WIC offices or other social services offices to encourage staff to view the videos and to also use them to on-board new staff. Finally, participants discussed the opportunity to share the videos and fact sheets through their child care programs both with staff and their parents.  Overall, cross-sector providers have welcomed the resources and are excited to explore local opportunities to use these to build connections to other programs.

Finally, we encourage you to use these videos and set up a viewing with your community partners.  If you have an example of how you have used them in your community, please share your ideas with us.  Below please find an overview of the video and fact sheet content and the link to access them.

Early Childhood Videos

Visit the Partner Plan Act website to view each of the two minute videos.  Each video provides a brief overview of the following programs that make up the early childhood system:

  1. Early Head Start/Head Start
  2. Early Intervention
  3. Child Care Assistance Program
  4. Child Welfare
  5. Home Visiting programs
  6. Preschool
  7. Special Education
  8. TANF, (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), and Family Case Management

Fact sheets about the Early Childhood System

Each video is accompanied with a fact sheet that details more information about the program, including information on the eligibility process, additional resources, and how to find programs in your community. Download program fact sheets here.

If you would like to know more about this project or have questions, contact: partnerplanact@actforchildren.org

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