If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. – Henry Ford

Public policies that affect young children and families are developed and implemented in many ways. The Early Childhood System Program Inventory is a good starting point for understanding those policies in Illinois, while the annual report from the Illinois Early Learning Council is a useful resource that will help you learn more about the entire system.

Below are links to some of the most significant governmental agencies that make and implement policies that impact Illinois children and families:

Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) administers a range of programs that support families, including Child Care Assistance, Early Intervention, various maternal and child health programs, as well as family support such as TANF, the EITC, and more. A list of programs and policies can be found through the Division of Family and Community Services.

Illinois State Board of EducationDivision of Early Childhood administers the Early Childhood Block Grant, which includes Preschool for All and the Prevention Initiative.

Department of Children and Family Services is Illinois’ child welfare agency and is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of children in cases of abuse and neglect. DCFS is also responsible for licensing childcare centers.

The Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development works to coordinate and align early childhood policies across agencies, while also leading three federal system initiatives: MIECHV, Early Learning Challenge, and Preschool Expansion.

Illinois Head Start Association represents Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and delegates in Illinois. Head Start and Early Head Start are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Policy Tools from Our Partners:
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Policy Basics
Zero to Three Public Policy Toolkit
First Five Years Fund
Federal Funding Glossary (NAEYC)
Government Primer

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