$1.6B in federal aid to expand IL early childhood education, child care access announced by Pritzker

$290M granted to child care providers earlier in Illinois COVID pandemic
AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker announced $1.6 billion in federal aid to expand access to early childhood education and child care for children and families across the state in Aurora Friday.

This includes $140 million in direct grants to childcare providers over the next three weeks, adding to the $290 million granted to child care providers earlier in the pandemic.

Over the next 18 months the administration will launch a network of early-childhood planning councils in communities across the state.

RELATED: CPS, CTU have 'tentative framework' for high school students to return

The councils will work with families, local early childhood providers, schools, civic leaders and the business community to ensure every community in the state has the early childhood services it needs, the governor's office said.

Pritzker also announced the creation of an Early Childhood Transformation Team in partnership with Northern Illinois University. The team will help move forward recommendations received from the network of local councils on behalf of children, families, providers and communities.

The administration is also creating a new Division of Early Childhood to be housed in the Illinois Department of Human Services. The new division will centralize the state's existing childcare, home visiting and early intervention services within the agency, the governor's office said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.