The Case for Change

Infrastructure & Governance

Need for Coherence

The ECTT worked closely with State agencies, the ELC, and the Governor’s Office to support Illinois in developing strategies toward a future with more cohesive ECEC funding and governance systems.

Illinois’ ECEC system is governed by three separate agencies: Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) serves as a coordinating body. Head Start and Early Head Start funds are administered by the federal government directly to their grantees.

This split governance has resulted in siloed planning, incohesive policies, and unaligned funding mechanisms and program eligibility requirements. Ultimately, providers and families are left to navigate this disjointed system.

Because the infrastructure that supports such a system has been underfunded and diffuse, there remains an underinvestment in critical sub-systems such as:

  • Data and accountability systems
  • Parent engagement and support
  • Support to build capacity, increase quality, and launch new programs

This underinvestment in infrastructure hinders the implementation of an equitable system. Inadequate, inequitable services are driven by a complex and confusing system. This inadequacy and inequity can stem from a lack of cohesiveness and coherence in system planning and oversight.