By PETER HANCOCK, Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office says the state will receive $40.2 million in federal grants over the next three years to improve early childhood programs.
The competitive grants are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and they require a 30-percent cost-sharing commitment from non-federal funds. The grants are used to build early childhood program infrastructure and expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities, the governor’s office said in a news release.
“From our aggressive efforts to secure federal funding to our historic investments in early childhood programs and facilities, Illinois will become the best state in the nation for families raising young children,” Pritzker said in the release.
Last week, Pritzker announced that the state is increasing child care provider reimbursement rates by 5 percent statewide and by 20 percent for providers in what the Illinois Department of Human Services calls “Group 2” counties, which are primarily rural counties.
The budget that lawmakers passed during the 2019 session included a $50 million increase in the state’s Early Childhood Education Block grant. In addition, the capital improvements program known as “Rebuild Illinois” provides $100 million for construction of early childhood facilities across the state.