To identify entities that can be helpful in bringing community partners together, first look for existing local collaborations. The Partner Plan Act website has a listing of more than 50 local early childhood community collaborations in Illinois, along with a map of these collaborations.
To find other potential collaborative partners or collaboration resources, consider using one or more of the following:
- Child Care: There are 16 Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) providers throughout Illinois that serve as a point of contact for applying for child care assistance and can help families find a child care provider. Each county has an assigned CCR&R. Find Your Local CCR&R through the INCCRRA website.
- Early Intervention: Child and Family Connections (CFC) are the regional intake agencies for children and families to enter the Illinois Early Intervention System. There are 25 CFCs around the state, each responsible for a specific geographic area. The Local Interagency Councils (LIC) are local advisory bodies that bring together local stakeholders around developmental screening, early intervention, and services for children birth to age 3. You can also use the IDHS Office Locator to find your local Child and Family Connection office.
- Head Start and Early Head Start: The Illinois Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO) is the state point of contact for information about Illinois Early/Head Start. The HSSCO facilitates Early/Head Start collaboration, coordination and planning at the state and local levels to help develop a comprehensive system of early childhood services for low-income families with young children. Please contact Felichia Crawford, director, or Donna Emmons, associate director.
- Illinois Head Start Association: The association conducts activities designed to upgrade the quality and quantity of Head Start services for children, families, and communities and to safeguard, upgrade, and promote the social welfare of the children and families in the state of Illinois. Check out the IHSA website for more resources.
- School Districts: Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) and the Cook County Intermediate Service Centers (ISCs) provide a variety of technical assistance and training services to school districts within their regions. Check the Directory of Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service Centers for contacts in your area.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also has a list of helpful resources. We also encourage you to visit Early Childhood section of ISBE’s website for a complete listing of available resources.
Finally, the Journal of Early Education and Development has a special issue on Early Care and Education collaboration offering insights into evidence-based strategies to develop effective collaborations. The issue includes seven articles that describe collaborations among different ECE programs, present conceptual frameworks of ECE collaboration, explore the ways that organizations form and sustain ECE collaborations, and share findings regarding the outcomes of the collaborations. .