“The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.”Bill Gates
On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child, Governor J.B. Pritzker visited Aurora to announce that $1.6B in federal funding will be allocated towards expanding access to early childhood education and care across the state.
This funding marks a pivotal step in providing critical funds to early childcare providers in our area. Governor Pritzker also announced several efforts to begin centralizing the state’s existing childcare, home visiting, and early intervention services. These efforts will help take a fragmented system of early care and education supports and make it easier to deliver services and access funding to provide the highest quality early learning opportunities for young children in Illinois.
The Dunham Foundation believes strongly in the importance of building resilient communities that connect families with young children to the range of supports and resources they need to promote positive development, prevent adverse early childhood experiences, and build a strong foundation for life-long learning.
To support the early childhood efforts locally, the Dunham Foundation partners with the Fox Valley United Way’s Strong Prepared And Ready for Kindergarten (SPARK) Initiative, one of Illinois’s first early childhood collaborative efforts. Recently, SPARK released the Start Strong = Bright Future report to provide localized data around the current state of early childhood care and education in Kane and Kendall counties.
This data aids in identifying gaps and creating an equitable early childhood landscape in the Fox Valley area. This report is timely, serving as a valuable resource for educators, policymakers, collaboration leaders, funders, and philanthropists working to build foundations and brighter futures for our youngest children.
Visit Fox Valley United Way to learn more about how you can support the young children and families in your community. For more information on childhood services in Illinois, go to the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development website.