Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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State house passes bill to form new agency for all early childhood programs

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Daily file illustration by Catherine Bucaniec
If the bill is signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Department of Early Childhood will begin work on July 1.

The Illinois House passed a bill 93-18 to form the Department of Early Childhood on Thursday afternoon, bringing the proposed agency one step closer to fruition.

The proposal is now headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has previously advocated for the creation of such an agency, for a final stamp of approval. The Senate passed the bill unanimously in April.

The state’s current childcare and early childhood education programs are managed under three departments: the state’s Department of Human Services, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Department of Children and Family Services. The new agency will allow programs under these departments to be housed in one place.

“(This new agency) can create more efficiency, transparency and ease of access for families and providers,” said state Rep. Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights), one of the bill’s sponsors, during the House floor debate.

If the bill is passed, the Department of Early Childhood will launch on July 1.

The bill also requests an allocation of $13.1 million from the state’s General Assembly for support staff and operations. By July 1, 2026, the department plans to manage programs such as early intervention for students with disabilities and the Child Care Assistance Program to support low-income families.

Canty said experts will spend time examining how the state can make a transition without interrupting services over the next two years.

“We can make early childhood simpler, better and fairer,” she said.

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