Illinois Receives Early Child Education Assistance From NGA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2000
SPRINGFIELD -- First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today announced
that Futures for Kids will receive support from the National Governor’s
Association to develop a strategic plan for early childhood care and
education for Illinois children.
"Illinois intends to use the technical support
provided by the NGA and the Packard Foundation to create a plan for
Governor Ryan’s vision of improving the overall health and educational
status of Illinois’ youngest citizens," Mrs. Ryan said. "The
technical assistance offered through the NGA and Foundation will bring
in expert resources to assist us in framing an agenda to help Illinois
The NGA Center for Best Practices has selected five
states -- Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin -- to
receive extensive technical assistance over two years to build public
and political support for early childhood education initiatives. Through
a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Center will
help the five states gain a better understanding of the perceptions
of the general public, policymakers, advocates, and other key stakeholders.
The selected states will work with experts at the NGA,
visit other states to learn from successful initiatives, and receive
individualized assistance to further the goals of their individual strategic
plans. After two years of assistance, NGA will host a national event
to showcase the work of the five states and share what they have learned
with other interested state policymakers.
Twenty-five states submitted proposals. The Center is
aggressively pursuing additional funding sources to support the inclusion
of other states in the project.
In Governor Ryan’s 1998 campaign position paper
entitled "Our Future — Our Children," he laid out his
strategic plan to strengthen families and improve the overall health
and educational status of Illinois’ children.
Key elements of the strategic plan focus on expanding
the availability and improving the quality of childcare. To achieve
the quality goals his blueprint called for:
- The expansion of early education programs for at-risk
- Investment of state dollars to improve quality in
child care centers;
- The use of incentives for worker retention;
- Additional training and scholarships for child care
In his first month in office, Governor and Mrs. Ryan
launched the Futures for Kids initiative, a prevention and intervention
program designed to increase success in school, reduce youth substance
abuse and juvenile delinquency. Futures for Kids focuses on four key
components: early intervention programs for children ages birth to10;
family and community involvement programs; school success and safe neighborhoods.
Mrs. Ryan chairs the Futures for Kids Advisory Panel
consisting of leaders from business, government, education, research
and children’s advocacy groups.