University of Illinois Urbana‑Champaign

Gov. Pritzker Introduces Smart Start Illinois

Published: February 16, 2023

In his state of the state and budget address this week, Gov. Pritzker introduced his Smart Start Illinois early childhood education plan. This multiyear proposal will increase state funding in fiscal year 2024 for preschool, child care, early intervention, and home visiting programs. 

More specifically, the plan will increase funding by

  • $75 million for ISBE Early Childhood Block Grant programs
  • $70 million for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) 
  • $40 million for early intervention services
  • $5 million to expand IDHS home visiting programs
  • $130 million for workforce compensation contracts
  • $100 million in construction grants for early childhood providers
  • $20 million to upgrade the childcare payment management system

In his address, Pritzker said Smart Start Illinois "will make our existing programs more equitable, giving moderate-income families greater access to quality programs, and investing in an early childhood workforce made up largely of women and people of color."

A briefing of early childhood funding with a bar chart showing the increases in funding for early childhood since Pritzker took office. The message of the bar chart is that Pritzker has consistently increased early childhood block grant funding since 2020, with the most significant increases in the last two years.

Slide from the highlights of Pritzker's fiscal year 2024 proposed budget