children ages 5 and under live in southern illinois

children in 12 of 

counties are at a high-moderate or high risk for experiences that negatively impact their growth & development
children live in households whose income is at 200% of poverty or less
high quality early childhood "slots"available n the region

A Call to Action

Research continues to demonstrate the importance of babies and young children getting what they need to grow and develop . When this does not happen, it can have a long lasting negative impact on their future success later in life. Unfortunately, there are a number of systemic barriers that prevents this from happening. 
There are not enough programs/ services to meet the needs of children and families in the region. As a result of a dwindling workforce, the capacity of early childhood education and care programs has been reduced   in addition, children in the smaller towns and unincorporated areas do not have access to the same resources as their counterparts living in the larger communities.  Families needing child care are facing rising costs, forcing them to make alternate arrangements that may not be in the best interest of their young children.

A teacher shortage/staffing crisis is limiting the capacity of current programs and/ or new programs to grow

Families continue to face barriers to accessing the programs and services they need to thrive, especially those living in the most rural areas

Communities do not prioritize the needs of children in families in policies, planning, funding, or decision making

There are not enough early childhood education and care programs in southern Illinois to meet the needs of children and families, especially children age birth to three years of age.

On average, just over

0 %
of young children are “school ready” when they enter kindergarten

Less than

0 %
of all children in southern Illinois are not screened for developmental and social/ emotional delays

Coalition members believe that ALL children should have access to the programs and services they need to succeed.

Engaging Stakeholders

Working closely with a consultant from the Tamarack Institute,  Coalition leaders  facilitated a comprehensive strategic planning process from September  2020 through June 2021. The strategic planning process was designed to include a strong level of engagement from a diverse pool of community stakeholders from across the region. By engaging these stakeholders, Coalition leaders were able to tap into a broader range of perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. Participating in the priority-setting process encouraged stakeholders to feel more ownership and commitment to the Coaltiion’s work.  This approach strengthened the strategic planning process to increase the Coalition’s chances of achieving the desired results

The Coalition's Strategic Priorities 2021-2025

At the culmination of the strategic planning process , the Governance Council identified and adopted five strategic priority areas to be the focus of the Coalition’s work from 2021-2025. These areas include:

Child-centered Communities
School Readiness
Strong Families
Early Childhood Workforce

Creating Blueprints to Do the Work

Once the strategic priority areas were adopted, a Collective Impact blueprint (or work plan) was developed to guide the work that results in systems change. The work plans are developed and implemented by priority-specific Action Teams. These plans include clarifying the problem(s) they are trying to address, identifying a goal or common agenda for their work, creating objectives or mutually reinforcing activities, and identifying desirable results with measurable outcomes.

Community System Partners

Systems changes require coordination, communication, and CONNECTIONS between community members and groups. To that end, Coalition members have been intentional in making connections/ links with other community coalitions, collaborations, and initiatives. Current community system partnerships include: