Has Access to Quality Child Care Improved for Low-Income Working Families in Illinois?

Over the period 2011–2016, Illinois invested federal funding into its early care and education system. This research series examines whether the availability of quality child care for low income working families—in particular, those eligible to receive the child care subsidy—increased during this period in two Illinois regions, Cook County and a seven-county region in Southwestern Illinois. This three-part series looks at whether access to quality child care improved for children under age 6, for infants and during non-traditional care hours.


A Workforce Data Deficit Hinders Improved Preparation, Support, and Compensation of Early Childhood Educators

The absence of good data allows anecdote — and sometimes bias — to drive policy decisions. Without quality comprehensive data, it’s impossible to answer key policy questions, much less develop estimates of the level of public funding needed to recruit and retain a qualified ECE workforce. Nationwide, leaders lack answers to critical questions about educators who work with young children. Questions like: Who constitutes the early childhood workforce in the United States and in each of the 50 states? What are their current education and compensation levels?


Mass. Early Educators Will Get A Raise After State Board Vote

Early educators are getting a raise after the Board of Early Education and Care voted Wednesday for a $20 million rate increase to be put toward improved programming and higher salaries for teachers and staff, according to the Baker administration. The funding was approved by the Legislature as part of the fiscal 2020 budget signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in July, and allows for a 3.52% increase in the daily reimbursement rates for state-subsidized child care programs. The board also authorized the department to raise the daily add-on rate for children under the supervision of the Department of Children and Families to $19 a day from $18.22 per day.

Too Much Structured Playtime

We’ve all seen it. Maybe we’re guilty ourselves of being parents who want their kids in every lesson and on every team. But we may not be doing kids any favors, as far as helping them develop what’s called self-directed executive function. That means setting a goal and independently figuring out how to reach it. Jennifer Loomis sometimes struggles as a mom not to over plan five-year-old Morrison’s free time. “Then our children don’t get the opportunity to become independent, in a way, and they look to the tall people in their lives to tell them what to do next,” Jennifer told Ivanhoe. Jane Barker’s research at the University of Colorado-Boulder showed a similar outcome. Her team studied 67 six-year-old children and their families. Mom and dad reported what the kids did all week while the kids took verbal fluency tests to gauge their self-directed executive function.