Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following announcement on Jan. 8.
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development has received a Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Initial Grant Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant is one of 45 distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Child Care to enhance early childhood programming, which includes Head Start and Early Head Start, state prekindergarten programs, child care, and home visiting services. The Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development will serve as the lead agency for the grant, which will allow the Office to develop a needs assessment and strategic plan and to strengthen the State's system of early childhood programs.
"Decades of research have shown us that children who have a strong educational and developmental foundation before they start kindergarten are much more likely to be successful later in life," Rauner said. "The PDG B-5 grant will bolster our commitment to making sure that every child in Illinois is well-prepared for kindergarten and beyond."
Promoting early childhood development has been a priority for Rauner since the beginning of his administration. In 2016, an executive order established the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Youth, which convenes leaders from across state agencies to improve outcomes for Illinois children and families. One of the projects that the Children's Cabinet has adopted is promoting early childhood workforce development.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to work across Illinois' early care and education systems to unify our planning and address barriers to access and quality, as we continue to meet the needs of our youngest children and their families," said Cynthia Tate, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.
The PDG B-5 grant will run through December 31, 2019, and the Office will have the opportunity to apply for renewal grants before the end of the year.
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