The Case for Change


Offering Fractional Access

There are approximately 800,000 children under age five in Illinois today, about 40% of whom are in low-income families. At most, about half of children aged birth to five from low-income families in Illinois are receiving state-funded services.

Impacting Foundational Growth

Service levels are especially low for infants and toddlers. While there are enough spots for children funded in Preschool for All and/or Head Start to serve about 80% of low-income three- and four-year-olds, Prevention Initiative and Early Head Start can only serve about 15% of low-income children under age three. This is significant as we learn more about brain development and understand that this developmental time frame is key to laying a strong foundation for learning and growth.

Inequitable Coverage

Access to quality ECEC services varies dramatically from county to county and town to town, both within specific ECEC programs, such as Preschool for All and Head Start, and across all ECEC offerings. Supply even varies across communities with similar need profiles; the distribution of high-quality ECEC does not seem to be strongly tied to the level of need in the community or the number of low-income children in the community.