Early Childhood Advocacy Day 2023

Advocates like you made the day a success! Thank you!

On April 18, Raising Illinois along with our partners at Child Care For All, COFI, Illinois Action for Children, SEIU, Start Early and We, the Village brought over 300 advocates down to Springfield to advocate for Illinois' youngest learners. Advocates shared policy briefs outlining the impact that Governor Pritzker's Smart Start Illinois initiative would have on our early childhood systems as well as Babies Can't Wait postcards highlighting the struggles & successes Illinois families have had with Early Intervention. We were honored to be joined by Governor Pritzker himself, as well as Lieutenant Governor Stratton, who both addressed advocates in the Rotunda as part of the day's events.

We were proud to have many of our Family Leaders present, and we were especially proud of Family Leader Mykela Collins, who addressed advocates in the morning and closed the day with a brief address following Governor Pritzker in the Rotunda.

Check Out A Video of Early Childhood Advocacy Day 2023

What's Next

Our priorities for the final weeks of the Spring 2023 Legislative Session

Raising Illinois is thrilled to work side by side with other advocates across the state to hold the General Assembly accountable for passing the Smart Start Illinois proposal in the FY 2024 state budget. While these unprecedented investments would be transformational for Illinois' early childhood system, our Coalition is still fighting to improve opportunities for infants, toddlers, and expecting families in other ways too. Our other prenatal-to-three legislative priorities over the next month include:

  • Making our state-led evidence-based home visiting programs permanent, and protecting their funding streams (SB 1794)
  • Expanding eligibility requirements for the Child Care Assistance Program, as well as streamlining the application process for families (SB 1796)
  • Ensuring access to public health data related to pregnancy and childbirth outcomes to better inform our perinatal supports work (HB 2039)
  • Creating a refundable child tax credit to mitigate the effects of family poverty during children's most foundational years (Learn more from the Cost-of-Living Coalition)
  • Establishing a diaper allowance to assist families who are struggling most to afford such a basic need, especially in an era of inflation and economic instability (Learn more from the Illinois Diaper Bank Coalition)
  • Creating a paid family leave insurance program for all workers to prioritize the health, safety, and success of infants and their parents (Learn more from the Illinois Time to Care Coalition)

Stay Involved

With about a month left in this legislative session, we aren't easing up our advocacy efforts! If you'd like to participate, you can contact your legislators and use this social toolkit to share more about the impact of Smart Start with your personal networks.

There's still time to fill out a postcard! We'll be collecting stories until the end of this legislative session on May 19. Please take a moment to share with us your experience with EI and the impact it has had on your child's life.

To keep up with the work of our coalition, you can also follow along on Twitter: @RaisingIllinois.

Baby in yellow advocacy day shirt sitting on mom's lap

Discover who’s moving this work forward. Learn more. 

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