Raising Illinois Commends the Approved FY 2024 State Budget as a Win for Infants, Toddlers and Expecting Families

Raising Illinois commends the Illinois General Assembly for approving a Fiscal Year 2024 state budget with unprecedented levels of early care and education funding aligned with Governor JB Pritzker’s Smart Start Illinois plan, as well as other investments to support infants, toddlers and expecting families.

Raising Illinois commends the Illinois General Assembly for making landmark investments to support infants, toddlers and expecting families in its Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024) spending plan, which was approved on Saturday, May 27.

The final budget includes nearly $300 million in new state funding for child care, preschool, home visiting services and the Early Intervention (EI) program to implement the Smart Start Illinois plan, first proposed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in February. The budget also advances other key components of the Raising Illinois PN3 Policy Agenda.

“This is a critical step forward for our youngest learners and their families,” Simone Santiago, Director of Raising Illinois, said. “In appropriating significant state dollars to these much-needed early childhood, health and economic programs, the General Assembly has passed a budget that reflects what we know to be true: all of Illinois thrives when its youngest children thrive. We are grateful to the General Assembly for approving the first year of Governor Pritzker’s Smart Start Illinois plan, and we look forward to working with both the administration and the legislature to ensure Illinois is the best state in the nation for infants, toddlers, and expecting families.”

The FY 2024 budget will have an important impact on both families and the workforce, with more families gaining access to critical early learning programs, health care and economic supports, and many providers seeing increases in pay. Some highlights:

  • $170 million (41.4%) increase for the child care system at the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), which will expand the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), modernize the Child Care Management System and increase wages for teachers and staff
  • $75 million (12.5%) increase for the Early Childhood Block Grant at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), which will expand preschool, center-based child care and home visiting programs
  • $40 million (34.5%) increase for the Early Intervention (EI) program at IDHS, which will ensure providers receive 10% higher rates for their services
  • $5 million (27.9%) increase for evidence-based home visiting programs at IDHS, which will allow for the largest expansion of these services in nearly two decades
  • $5 million in brand-new funding at ISBE to support inclusion across settings for preschoolers with disabilities and developmental delays
  • $50 million in new, one-time funding from Build Illinois for the Early Childhood Construction Grant (ECCG) program (however, these funds will only be available for school districts, a policy change that our Coalition opposes because we believe all early childhood programs across our mixed delivery system deserve support for facilities improvement)
  • $38 million for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to reduce health disparities by improving access to equitable health care
  • $22.8 million to implement the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, which will better coordinate and facilitate access to mental health services
  • $20 million for the Illinois Grocery Initiative, a new program to improve access to healthy food options in both rural and urban communities

In addition to the FY 2024 budget, the General Assembly approved several other measures in line with Raising Illinois’ policy priorities, such as:

  • HB 3817, the FY 2024 Budget Implementation Act, which:
    • Makes permanent the income threshold of 225% of the federal poverty level for CCAP eligibility
    • Establishes the Smart Start Child Care Program
    • Increases the cash assistance amount for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to 35% of the federal poverty level
  • SB 1794, which establishes in law the existing IDHS home visiting programs and protects their current funding streams
  • HB 2039, the Access to Public Health Data Act, which directs various state departments and agencies to share public health data, including information on adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, with local health departments
  • HB 2519, which requires all hospitals and birth centers to provide parents of newborns with instructional materials about voluntarily donating milk to premature infants
  • HB 2820, which requires all birthing facilities to establish policies and continuing education on addressing airway emergencies experienced during childbirth
  • HR 86 and SR 36, which affirm the importance of home visiting and EI programs in Illinois and requests a portion of the state’s opioid lawsuit settlement funds be allotted to them

We recognize the contributions of the roughly 1,200 parents, caregivers, educators, providers, legislators and other stakeholders across the state who represent Raising Illinois. We encourage you to reach back out to Governor Pritzker and your elected officials to thank them for prioritizing early childhood programs and services that set up our youngest learners for health and success in school and in life. The budget and policy wins for infants, toddlers and expecting families from this legislative session are the result of our collective effort and we look forward to continuing the work, together.



"All of Illinois thrives when its youngest children thrive.”

Simone Santiago

Director of Raising Illinois





Are you ready? Learn how you can get involved.

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