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What We Champion

Illinois Action for Children advocates for policies that benefit children and build the strong families and communities they need. We believe supporting children means supporting families, educators, and care providers, and making sure their voices are heard. We also believe excellent child care and early learning can change lives and be achieved in all zip codes across all care types.

Our pledge to equity and justice

We pledge to center the following principles and corresponding core values in our work to realize a child care and early education system that lays the foundation for racial and economic equity for all.

  • Prioritize equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, low-income, and rural children and families.
  • To support children, we must support their families.
  • Racial, economic, and gender justice must be prioritized to advance the entire system.
  • The system must work for families and providers.
  • Parent choice should be supported and respected, and priority should not be given to one setting or provider type over another.

We elevate the voices and experiences of parents and providers.

As we leverage our own expertise, independent research, and strategic partnerships to advance services and support for young children, we also prioritize grassroots engagement. We know it’s critical for parents and provider voices and experiences to be heard and understood. Through calls to action, witness slips, organizing providers to comment on policy proposals and other activities, we engage providers and families in legislative advocacy.

Our policy and advocacy work has real impact.

We have secured annual increases in early education funding streams and defended programs for vulnerable families. We successfully fought rules severely restricting eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program, ultimately leading to legislation that fully restored access to the program.  We helped win passage of major legislation like PA 100-105, which protects our youngest learners from expulsion in licensed child care and state-funded preschool.

Strengthening the Early Childhood Workforce in Illinois

Higher Education Report Series

Millions of Illinois families and our state's economy rely on early childhood professionals. However, obtaining degrees through higher education opportunities is immensely challenging for the incumbent early childhood workforce. The early childhood incumbent workforce can benefit from obtaining college degrees because of the greater number of job opportunities and increased wages. However, the supports they need are not always available.

In our new policy guide, Strengthening the Early Childhood Workforce in Illinois, we describe the experiences and challenges of early childhood educators in higher education. We surveyed 455 early childhood professionals interested in or currently pursuing early childhood degrees. We present five critical questions informed by the survey results to guide decision-makers in developing policies and solutions that can improve access to higher education and center the needs and experiences of the incumbent workforce.

All Children All Families: A proactive and aggressive policy agenda for child care and early education in Illinois.

The Sylvia Cotton Center for Research & Policy Innovation (SCCRPI) powered by Illinois Action for Children is an independent hub for research, policy analysis, and innovation in child care and early education program design. Recently, SCCRPI unveiled All Children All Families, to guide our pursuit of racial, gender, and economic equity for child care and early education programs throughout Illinois.

For the next 10 years, we will work to enact changes outlined by the following priorities:

  1. Strengthen governance and funding to make care and early education equitable for all.
  2. Structure the system to support early childhood teachers.
  3. Create a better system of support for achieving program excellence across all provider types.
  4. Expand family access and choice.

We believe these actions will yield the greatest improvements to the child care and early learning systems in Illinois. To learn more, please visit our All Children, All Families information page.

Contact Us

IAFC Public Policy & Advocacy
4753 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640


Funding Priorities of Child Care Providers: where would increased investment go?

We’re thrilled to be sharing some feedback from Illinois providers on what their funding priorities were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spoiler alert—providers would spend additional public investment on compensation and benefits for their staff.

We know early childhood staff and educators are underpaid “brain-builders” who provide care for our youngest children in many ways and in many settings. Yet, the compensation and benefits as a field rival poverty-level wages. It is one of the root causes of the workforce crisis in child care and early education.

To learn more about what we found, click to download our report available in here English and here Spanish. View Webinar.

Report Cover

Don’t have time to read the full report?

Watch a three-minute video presentation with key takeaways from our survey available here in English and here in Spanish.



We invite you to join us in acting for children.

Join Our Parent Group!

We ask you for feedback on changes being considered to child care and early education; we share opportunities to take action.

Please email here for more information.

Join Providers in Action!

Providers in Action is a group of child care professionals that work together to advocate for policy changes that improve the quality of and access to child care services.

To learn more about the group and how you can take action and support its aims, please email Rosita Nardi, Interim Chair, at

Únase a Providers in Action!

Providers in Action es un grupo de profesionales de cuidado infantil que trabajan para abogar por cambios a políticas públicas que mejoran la calidad y el acceso a servicios de cuidado infantil.

Para aprender más sobre el grupo y cómo puede tomar acción y apoyar sus metas, por favor escriba a Rosita Nardi, Presidenta Interina, a

Support Teachers!

Join our work in supporting early childhood teachers getting better compensation and an easier time to earn their degree or credential in early childhood.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

Don't miss opportunities to learn about the actions you can take to improve child care and early learning opportunities for all children and all families.

Join the Right To Care Campaign!

The campaign is a group of early childhood advocates, non-profit organizations, child care and early education providers, school districts, parents, and others who have come together to fight for the well-being of Illinois’ youngest children.

Join the Right To Care Campaign!