Shriver Center Community Outreach - Early Childhood Resources
(September 2017 - December 2017)
The Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) collaborated with The Sargent Shriver National Center for Poverty Law (Shriver Center) to collect stories from parents and early childhood education providers to better understand their perspectives and experience of publicly funded early childhood services in the state of Illinois. Through parent focus groups in ten locations throughout the state, we gathered information about families’ awareness of and access to publicly funded, evidence-based programs that serve families with children from birth to three years old, with a focus on home visiting, childcare assistance, and early intervention. We asked caregivers—parents, guardians, and grandparents— who are eligible for these programs whether they were aware of them, whether the programs met their needs, and what barriers to participation they have experienced. As part of the focus group process, parents were introduced to opportunities for parent leadership and invited to participate in future advocacy to advance their interests. We conducted four additional focus groups for services providers to gather their perspectives on their clients’ unmet needs, and any barriers to participation their clients face.
These perspectives will be shared with gubernatorial candidates, policymakers, advocates, and state agency staff to increase awareness of the importance of these key services, to facilitate improved outreach, and ultimately to move policymakers to actions that will expand access to services that support the healthy development of infants and toddlers in Illinois.
Download report: Ensuring a Great Start: What Illinois Parents Say Is Needed for Their Children to Thrive
T. Neumann, CURL
R. Daniels, CURL Graduate Fellow
Y. Khayr, CURL Undergraduate Fellow
K. Moliere, CURL Undergraduate Fellow
K. Ocampo, CURL Undergraduate Fellow
S. Paulus, CURL Undergraduate Fellow
J. Ramirez, Urban Studies Student
E. Rodriguez, Urban Studies Student
A. Soto, Urban Studies Student
D. Wang, Urban Studies Student