University of Illinois Urbana‑Champaign

Early Childhood Funding Commission Releases Report

Published: April 1, 2021

The Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding has released the Ready Illinois report offering recommendations on critical funding, allocation, and governance structures needed for a fully funded, unified system across the state.

The report was created after the commission spent a year gathering facts and engaging stakeholders to answer three foundational questions:

  • How much investment is required to adequately fund quality early childhood education and care across the state?
  • How should the system of funding be redesigned to promote the commission’s guiding principles? How can we make it accessible, understandable, and equitable for children, parents, and providers across all parts of the state?
  • How should management and oversight be structured to implement a new, more equitable, and more navigable system of funding?

As detailed in the report, the commission found that Illinois’ early learning system was overly complex and underfunded. They then offer three specific recommendations to make early childhood education and care work better for Illinois children, families, and providers:

  • Use a long-term funding goal in policymaking
  • Coordinate ECEC funding
  • Centralize ECEC programs into one state agency
Complex flow chart of early childhood funding streams, showing the complexity of those streams.

Complex funding streams across several agencies creates confusion as well as data systems and collaboration challenges, according to the Ready Illinois report.

The commission was established by the governor in December 2019 to “study and make recommendations to establish funding goals and funding mechanisms to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age five and advise the Governor in planning and implementing these recommendations.” The Ready Illinois report contains the official recommendations scheduled to be presented to the gtovernor in March 2021.

For more information about the commission and the report, visit the GOECD website.