Raising Illinois

Taking Bold Action for Illinois Families

In Illinois today, the systems of support for expecting families, infants and toddlers are insufficient to meet their individual needs or the needs of the communities where they live. This is a crisis that demands immediate attention and action. Raising Illinois, powered by Start Early, represents a collective effort to respond to this crisis. Our coalition is guided by the Prenatal to Three (PN3) Policy Agenda, created by Raising Illinois & Start Early, in collaboration with seasoned legislative, policy and advocacy experts in partnership with parents, providers, community leaders, public partners and other champions.

Raising Illinois is leading the charge of a cultural shift towards greater societal appreciation of the importance of the first 3 years of development, and a brighter tomorrow for every child and every family, in every community. Our efforts to enact this PN3 agenda have already shown strong progress and are continuing to gain momentum. With significant work still to be done, we will continue to tackle our current crisis by breaking down systemic barriers across the various systems that support expecting families, infants and toddlers through advocacy, aligning our coalition with local community leaders and supporting Illinois to reimagine the importance of a child’s earliest years.

600x600_pregnant mom with toddler
600x600_baby and pediatrician

"I appreciate the great work Raising Illinois continues to do to forward our goal of making Illinois the best state in the country for families expecting or raising children. By bringing public agencies, philanthropy, advocates, providers, and families across the state together, your work is improving opportunities and outcomes for those who face the greatest barriers. My early childhood plan, Smart Start Illinois, will build on this work with historic investments in our youngest children. I look forward to our continued partnership and all that we will achieve together."

-Governor JB Pritzker

Closing The Opportunity Gap For Our Youngest Children

The first 3 years of a child’s life are the most critical for healthy development. Illinois’ expecting families, infants and toddlers currently experience profound disparities in equitably accessing the support they need during their formative years, like prenatal care, home visiting, economic supports, early intervention and other critical services – they are being shortchanged exactly when the potential benefits are greatest. By investing early, we can lay the foundation for all Illinois children to have a strong start in school and life. Furthermore, effective policy must also address the root causes of historic disparities to create an equitable, cohesive early childhood development system for Illinois’ expecting families, infants and toddlers.

“If we truly want to end the racial inequities that clearly persist today, we must start at the beginning and ensure that expecting families, infants and toddlers have what they need to form a strong foundation.”

- Simone Santiago, Director, Raising Illinois

Join Our Movement

Raising Illinois invites everyone who wants to make a difference to join our community conversations, watch our past & future events and share their knowledge, experiences and concerns. Together, we can inspire real change for Illinois’ expecting families, infants and toddlers.

Our Priorities

Creating the strongest foundation for success in school and life

Our coalition of diverse stakeholders is working to ensure every Illinois family with children under age 3 has affordable and equitable access to high-quality learning experiences, health services and economic supports. Learn more about the Raising Illinois PN3 Agenda.

600x600_asian toddler with toy balls

News & Resources

Raising Illinois’ Response to Approved Fiscal Year 2025 State Budget

29 May 2024
Posted in ,

May 30, 2024 Raising Illinois’ Response to Governor JB Pritzker’s Proposed FY 2025 Budget Our state’s prenatal-to-three coalition celebrates another transformational year for expecting families, infants and toddlers – but critical services remain underfunded Lee En…

Raising Illinois Celebrates Passage of Department of Early Childhood Legislation

09 May 2024
Posted in ,

May 9, 2024 Raising Illinois Celebrates Passage of Department of Early Childhood Legislation Senate Bill 1 moves to the Governor’s desk for signature this summer Lee en Español Raising Illinois celebrates the passage today of Senate…

Take Action for Early Intervention

18 March 2024
Posted in

Take Action For Early Intervention Our Babies Can’t Wait! Lee En Español Illinois’ Early Intervention (EI) program provides critical services to children under age 3 who have or are at risk for significant developmental delays and…

Raising Illinois is a collective effort to close the opportunity gap. Learn more.

Are you ready? Learn how you can get involved.