Ryan Signs Great Start Legislation to Attract and Retain Quality Child Care Workers; Fulfills Campaign Pledge
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2000
CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today fulfilled his campaign
pledge to improve training and reduce turnover for child-care workers
by signing legislation designed to help child care facilities attract
and retain quality employees.
House Bill 4021, which creates the Great START (Strategy to
Attract and Retain Teachers) Program, will help day care centers address
the growing problem of high turnover among child care providers.
"Great START is about making sure parents have access to quality
child care administered by professional personnel. Our children deserve
a stable day care system that is able to focus on serving their needs
rather than filling vacant positions," Ryan said.
"During the campaign, I pledged to improve the quality of
child care in Illinois through increased funding and by supporting initiatives
that encourage worker training and discourage worker turnover. Over
the last two fiscal years, we’ve increased funding for child care
by more than $200 million. And with the creation of Great START, we’re
helping Illinois child care facilities attract and retain quality staff."
Through the use of wage supplements and incentives, Great START is
designed to encourage increased professional preparation by staff and
improve staff retention at Illinois’ licensed child care centers
and day care homes.
The legislation requires the Illinois Department of Human Services
to develop a supplement scale that pays increasing amounts for higher
levels of education attainment and recognizes longevity of employment.
Other incentives such as signing bonuses and longevity bonuses may also
be implemented. The governor’s fiscal year 2001 budget includes
$3 million for the Great START program.
Great START is part of First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan’s Futures
for Kids initiative. Futures for Kids was developed by Mrs. Ryan as
an umbrella for programs and policies that make a significant difference
in the lives of Illinois’ children.
"Early intervention is a primary focus of Futures for Kids,"
Mrs. Ryan said. "Through Great START, more Illinois children will
be able to get off on the right foot when it comes to developing the
skills necessary to reach their full potential."
House Bill 4021 was sponsored by Senators Laura Kent Donahue, R-Quincy;
Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale; Barack Obama, D-Chicago; Kathleen Parker,
R-Northbrook; and Donne Trotter, D-Chicago. House sponsors included
Representatives Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview; David Wirsing, R-Sycamore;
Rosemary Mulligan, R- Des Plaines; Constance Howard, D-Chicago; and
Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest.