Raising Illinois

Closing the opportunity gap for our youngest learners

The science is clear: the first three years of a child’s life are the most critical for healthy development. By investing early, we can lay the foundation for all Illinois children to have a strong start in school and life. But, to get it right, we must also address the root causes of historic disparities and create an equitable and cohesive early childhood development system for Illinois’ expecting families, infants and toddlers, and the communities in which they live. This is our chance to make a powerful commitment to our youngest generation. 

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"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

Our Priorities

Creating the strongest foundation for success in school and life

Illinois infants and toddlers see the greatest disparities in funding to support them during their formative years. Our children are shortchanged exactly when the potential benefit is greatest. Our coalition of 100+ 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. This will create the strongest foundation for infants’ and toddlers’ success in school and life. 

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75% of Illinois'

infants & toddlers

left without access

to child care

Only 1 in 4 Infants & Toddlers in Illinois Can Access Licensed Child Care

and only 5% have access to high-quality care. Barriers also exist in home visiting, early intervention and other critical services for children prenatal-to-age 3. Learn more about the Illinois Prenatal to Three Agenda.

News & Resources

Introducing: 2024 Family Leaders

23 February 2024
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February 23, 2024 Introducing: 2024 Family Leaders Welcome to our 6 new Family Leaders! After a year marked by remarkable prenatal-to-three achievements and the launch of Governor Pritzker’s Smart Start Illinois initiative, we are thrilled to…

Raising Illinois’ Response to Governor JB Pritzker’s Proposed FY 2025 Budget

22 February 2024
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Our state’s prenatal-to-three coalition celebrates this ongoing commitment to Illinois’ littlest learners and their families, but calls for greater investments for critical services.

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Thoughtfully Engaging Our Communities

29 January 2024
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Thoughtfully Engaging our Communities in 2024 Family, Field, and Community Engagement Lead Jesse Rojo shares what’s on the horizon Raising Illinois takes great pride in our commitment to Family, Field, and Community Engagement, a cornerstone of…

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

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