Illinois Early Childhood Profile
The Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profile shows which state policies meet benchmarks that are favorable to the well-being of children and their families. The profile includes policies that are key elements of a two-generation approach to supporting the well-being and life opportunities of young children and their parents, in the areas of health, early care and education, and parenting and economic support.
A two-generation framework for policy design reflects extensive research that identifies the critical supports young children need over time to thrive1, 2. Most two-generation supports for young children and families are created through the collective impact of multiple policies. An example is investment in prekindergarten programs and an effective quality improvement system that promotes children’s access to high quality early care and education programs along with state policies such as the Earned Income Tax credit and minimum wage that raise the incomes of low-income working families; another is policies that ensure mental health screenings and access to quality health care for both children and parents.
A brief overview of policies in the EC Two-Generation State Policy Profile is provided below (see policy definitions for an explanation of benchmarks). The Profile is limited to policies for which 50-state data are available. Users who wish to examine additional policies specific to their state, within a two-generation framework, can find suggestions in State Policies through a Two-Generation Lens: Strengthening the Collective Impact of Policies that Affect the Life Course of Young Children and their Parents.
Health and Development
States can support young children's development by making key policy choices in early health and development. This section of ITO highlights states' policy choices for supporting young children's wellbeing: 1) Access to and continuity of health care, including state Medicaid/CHIP eligibility levels and coverage of legal immigrant children; 2) Parents' access to health care, including for low-income pregnant women, and access to a medical home for young children; and 3) Preventive screening and assessment, including adherence to recommended schedules for well-child visits.
Early Care and Education
States make important decisions about the early care and education services they provide to young children and families. This section of ITO highlights states' key policy choices that affect children's development and parents' ability to work: 1) Access to childcare, including subsidy eligibility levels and reimbursement rates; and 2) States' investment in Head Start, Early Head Start, pre-kindergarten, child care centers' class size and student-teacher ratios and investment in infant/toddler specialist networks and credentials and Quality Rating Improvement Systems.
Parenting and Economic Supports
States make critical policy choices that help low-income parents effectively support young children's healthy development. This section of ITO spotlights states' policy choices related to important economic supports for low-income families with young children: 1) TANF requirements for parents of young children; and 2) Income support policies including tax relief, earned income and dependent care tax credits, as well as child support disregards.
Health and Development Policies
Sets the income eligibility limit for public health insurance (Medicaid/CHIP) at or above 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) 4
- Children <1 year
Sets eligibility at 318% (S-CHIP) and 147% (Medicaid)
- Children 1-5 years
Sets eligibility at 318% (S-CHIP) and 147% (Medicaid)
- Children 6-18 years
Sets eligibility at 318% (S-CHIP) and 147% (Medicaid and M-CHIP)
- Pregnant women
Sets eligibility at 213% (Medicaid and Unborn Child Option: CHIP-funded)
- Provides lawfully residing immigrant children with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 5
- Provides lawfully residing pregnant immigrant women with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 5
- Provides temporary coverage to children under Medicaid or CHIP until eligibility can be formally determined 6
- Provides temporary coverage to pregnant women under Medicaid until eligibility can be formally determined 7
- Extends Medicaid coverage for family planning to otherwise ineligible low-income women 8
- Includes at-risk children in the definition of eligibility for IDEA Part C 9
The relationship between being an at-risk state and the number of children served varies. Some non-at-risk states have higher than average percentages of children being served in Early Intervention (EI). See graphs for the state EI data.
- Does not require redetermination of eligibility for Medicaid/CHIP more than once a year 5
- Has adopted Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act 10
- Has an online dual-benefit form to apply for Medicaid and SNAP 5
- Medicaid pays for maternal depression screening during pediatric/family medicine visits under the child's Medicaid 11
- Has at least one Help Me Grow affiliate site that has fully implemented a centralized access point 12
Illinois does not have Help Me Grow.
EPSDT screening periodicity schedule meets recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics [FY 2020]13
- 7 screenings for children <1 year
State requires 7 screens. 89% of eligible screens were completed in 2020.
- 4 screenings for children 1-2 years
State requires 5 screens. 75% of eligible screens were completed in 2020.
- 3 screenings for children 3-5 years
State requires 3 screens. 65% of eligible screens were completed in 2020.
- 4 screenings for children 6-9 years
State requires 4 screens. 36% of eligible screens were completed in 2020.
Early Care and Education Policies
- Sets the income eligibility limit for child care subsidies at or above 200% FPL 16
A family of three qualifies for assistance with a maximum income at $43,440 or 186% FPL. This an increase from 196% FPL in 2020.
- Uses payment rate at or above the 75th percentile of current market rate for center-based care at the highest quality QRIS tier 16
The reimbursement rate for center care for a four-year-old in the metropolitan region at the highest quality tier was 15% higher than the rate at the lowest quality tier.
- Funds a pre-kindergarten program 17
$412,983,822 in 2021
- Supplements Head Start 17
- Requires districts to offer full day kindergarten 18
A kindergarten program may be designated as a half-time or full-time program.
- Requires one adult for every four 18-month-olds in child care centers 19
Child care regulations require one adult for every 5 children.
- Requires one adult for every ten 4-year-olds in child care centers 19
- Requires one teacher for every 12 students in kindergarten classrooms 18
Not specified in statute or regulation
- Has an infant/toddler credential or certificate 20
- Requires that infants and toddlers in child care centers be assigned a consistent primary caregiver 19
- Has implemented a statewide Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) 21
- Has comprehensive, free-standing standards for social emotional learning at the K-12 level 22
- Requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree for lead teachers in public pre-K programs and licensed child care centers 23
Only lead teachers in public pre-K programs are required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree.
Parenting and Economic Supports Policies
- Exempts single parents on TANF from work requirements until the youngest child reaches age 1 [FY 2020]26
Recipient may be required to attend classes or other activities.
- Reduces the TANF work requirement to 20 hours or less for single parents with children under age 6 [FY 2020]26
Required to work 30 hours.
- Has paid family leave for a minimum of 6 weeks with partial replacement of wages 27
- Offers accrual of at least five paid sick days 28
- Established a state minimum wage that meets or exceeds $12.00/hr and is indexed to inflation for a family of three 29
- Sets gross income eligibility limit at 200% FPL and does not have asset limits for SNAP 30
Gross income limit is set at 165% FPL. No asset limit.
- Does not charge personal income tax for single-parent families of three below the federal poverty level [TY 2021]31
- Offers a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit 32
18% of the federal EITC
- Offers a refundable state dependent care tax credit [TY 2022]33
- Offers a refundable Child Tax Credit 34
- Keeps copayments for child care subsidies at or below 7% of family income for families of three at 150% FPL 16
Copayments set at 7% of income.
- Offers exemptions and/or extensions of the TANF benefit time limit for women who are pregnant or caring for a child under 6 months of age [FY 2020]26
- Offers a minimum of 28 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits 35
State provides up to 26 weeks of regular state-funded UI.
- Funds a housing program that provides rental assistance to low-income families with children to avoid eviction or homelessness 36
Illinois's Housing Advocacy and Cash Assistance Program (also known as NORMAN) assists families whose children are at risk of placement in substitute care or who cannot be reunited with their parents because the parents are unable to meet the children?s subsistence needs. There are no additional income requirements. Families are assisted in locating and securing permanent and affordable housing and receive other housing advocacy assistance as needed. In addition, cash assistance is used to purchase items that a family needs, but cannot afford, for the child to return home or avoid foster care. Cash assistance can be used for first month?s rent, security deposits, utility deposits or charges, food, clothing, and other subsistence needs. While there is no specific income threshold, participants must demonstrate need. The Norman cash assistance program was budgeted at $3.6 million in 2019.
Data Notes and Sources
- Chase-Lansdale, P. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2014). Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century. The Future of Children, 24(1), 13-39.
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Fisher, P. A. (2013). Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy. Development and psychopathology, 25(4pt2), 1635-1653.
- State data were calculated from the 2016-2020 American Community Survey, representing information from the years 2016 to 2020. National data were calculated from the 2019 American Community Survey, representing information from 2019. We did not use the 2020 American Community Survey data for the U.S. due to the dataset's experimental nature and caution about its reliability.
- Brooks, T., Gardner, A., Tolbert, J., Dolan, R., & Pham, O. (2021). Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, and Cost Sharing Policies as of January 2021: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://files.kff.org (accessed June 25, 2021).
- Brooks, T., Gardner, A., Osorio, A., Tolbert, J., Corallo, B., Ammula, M., & Moreno, S. (2022). Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, and Cost Sharing Policies as of January 2022: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://files.kff.org (accessed July 7, 2022).
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2021). Presumptive Eligibility. https://www.medicaid.gov (accessed July 14, 2022).
- Brooks, T., Gardner, A., Osorio, A., Tolbert, J., Corallo, B., Ammula, M., & Moreno, S. (2022). Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility and Enrollment Policies as of January 2022: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://files.kff.org (accessed Feburary 8, 2023).
- Guttmacher Institute. (2023). Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions. https://www.guttmacher.org (accessed February 15, 2023).
- The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. (n.d.). State and Jurisdictional Eligibility Definitions for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Under IDEA Part C. https://ectacenter.org (accessed February 15, 2023).
- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (2022). Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision. https://www.kff.org (accessed July 1, 2022).
- National Academy for State Health Policy. (2021). Medicaid Policies for Maternal Depression Screening During Well-Child Visits, by State. https://healthychild.nashp.org (accessed February 26, 2021).
- Help Me Grow National Center. (2022). Help Me Grow Network Affiliates. https://helpmegrownational.org Email correspondences from Cassandra Therriault on July 26, 2022.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2022). The Annual EPSDT Report (Form CMS-416) for FY 2020. https://www.medicaid.gov (accessed July 8, 2022).
- Early Intervention (EI) rates were calculated by using data from two sources: 2018-2019 EI cumulative counts collected by the US Department of Education and 2011-2019 American Community Survey data. Estimates of the population of children under 3 were averages of single-year ACS data from 2011 to 2019. EI rates are not displayed where cell size for the numerator (number of children in EI) is missing, or cell size for the denominator (total number of children) is less than 200.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2019). The Annual EPSDT Report (Form CMS-416) for FY 2019. https://www.medicaid.gov (accessed January 25, 2021).
- Schulman, K. (2022). At the Crossroads: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2021. National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed July 5, 2022).
- Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Barnett, W. S., Garver, K. A., Hodges, K. S., Weisenfeld, G. G., Gardiner, B.A., & Jost, T. M. (2022). The State of Preschool 2021: State Preschool Yearbook. National Institute for Early Education Research. https://nieer.org (accessed November 22, 2022).
- Education Commission of the States. (2022). State Education Policy Tracking. https://www.ecs.org (accessed December 9, 2022). NCCP also referenced ECS's 2020 50-State Comparison: State Kindergarten-Through-Third-Grade Policies. https://internal-search.ecs.org (accessed December 9, 2022).
- NCCP's review of state child care licensing regulations as of July 13, 2022. Policies were retrieved from the National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov
- Zero to Three. (2021). The State of Child Care for Babies: The Need to Do Better for Our Youngest Children. https://stateofbabies.org (accessed December 1, 2022).
- The Quality Compendium. (2023). Individual State Profiles. The BUILD Initiative. https://qualitycompendium.org (accessed April 3, 2023).
- Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (2022). SEL Policy at the State Level. https://casel.org (accessed July 13, 2022). CO data was obtained from CO DOE.
- McLean, C., Austin, L.J.E., Whitebook, M., & Olson, K.L. (2021). Early Childhood Workforce Index 2020. Berkeley, CA: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley. https://cscce.berkeley.edu (accessed March 10, 2021).
- Schulman, K. (2020). On the Precipice: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2020. National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed July 15, 2021).
- U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019).?National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2019 Math and Reading Assessment. https://nces.ed.gov June 30, 2020).
- Dehry, I., Knowles, S., Shantz, K., Minton, S., & Giannarell, L. (2022). Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2020. OPRE Report 2021-147. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed September 1, 2022).
- National Partnership for Women & Families. (2022). State Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Laws. https://www.nationalpartnership.org (accessed November 30, 2022).
- National Partnership for Women & Families. (2022). Paid Sick Days - State and District Statutes. https://www.nationalpartnership.org (accessed September 2, 2022).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2022). State Minimum Wages. http://www.ncsl.org (accessed May 4, 2022).
- Aussenberg, R.A., & Falk, G. (2022). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Categorical Eligibility. Congressional Research Service. https://sgp.fas.org (accessed December 15, 2022).
- Calculations derived from output generated by the National Bureau of Economic Research Internet TAXSIM Version 35, available at http://users.nber.org for the 2021 tax year. For a description of the TAXSIM model, see Feenberg, D. and Coutts, E. (1993). An Introduction to the TAXSIM Model. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 12(1): 189-194.
- Urban Institute. (2022). State Earned Income Tax Credits. https://www.urban.org (accessed December 15, 2022). NCCP also referenced the Tax Policy Center's State EITC as Percentage of the Federal EITC. https://www.taxpolicycenter.org (accessed December 15, 2022).
- National Women's Law Center. (2023). States Can Make Care Less Taxing, Tax Year 2022. https://nwlc.org (accessed April 3, 2023).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2023). Child Tax Credit Overview. https://www.ncsl.org (accessed April 3, 2023).
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2022). Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available? https://www.cbpp.org (accessed August 30, 2022).
- NCCP's review of state funded rental housing programs as of September 1, 2022. Programs were retrieved from the National Low Income Housing Coalition Database. https://reports.nlihc.org
- Shantz, K., Dehry, I., Knowles, S., Minton, S., & Giannarelli, L. (2020). Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2019. OPRE Report 2020-141. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://wrd.urban.org (accessed February 2, 2021).