September 2023 Partner Plan Act Newsletter

September 6, 2023
“Power concedes nothing without an organized demand.”Charlene Carruthers 

Community Systems Statewide Support (CS3) 

CS3 Receives ISBE Funding for SFY24 – SFY28 

We’re very excited to share that the CS3 team has been awarded the Illinois State Board of Education’s Community Systems: Training and Technical Assistance grant! The funding will run from SFY24 – SFY28 and support CS3’s work in providing a system of statewide support for early childhood community systems through training, technical assistance, and coaching to community collaborations. This includes building the capacity of existing early childhood collaborations and supporting the efforts of communities working to develop early childhood collaboratives. The focus will be to increase enrollment of children birth to five years old with high needs into high-quality early childhood programs and providing a seamless and coordinated system of services. 

CS3 will continue to provide foundational and targeted support to communities including the Partner Plan Act (PPA) Collaboration Institute, the annual PPA conference, new on-demand modules, and more. The work is already underway so stay tuned as we will announce new opportunities, trainings, and resources in upcoming newsletters. 


Welcome CS3’s New Program Manager! 

CS3 is pleased to announce that Deb Hwang has joined the team as our new Program Manager! Deb’s background in early childhood education and care includes over three years at the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development in managing home visiting projects through the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five. Her work focused on strengthening and coordinating the home visiting system including the launch of the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS) platform in four home visiting communities throughout the state. She also brings experience in grantmaking through her work at the Circle of Service Foundation and Asian Giving Circle, and clinical social work in underrepresented communities through research and direct practice. 

Deb completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained her master’s degree at the University of Chicago Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. During her free time, she enjoys running along Lakeshore path, watching movies, and looking for good eats in her neighborhood. 




Research and Data Analysis Support Available from EduDream 

The CS3 team is excited to offer new support to community collaborations this year. We are partnering with EduDream to provide research and analysis support to two early childhood community collaborations. EduDream is a Latina-founded, woman-owned, research consulting firm inspiring transformation within education by bringing community voice and rigorous research together. The research and analysis support may include conducting landscape analyses of early childhood services, collecting secondary data, conducting trend analysis, developing data insights, or qualitative research and analysis.  

The research and data analysis support can help collaborations better understand the availability of highquality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the community, families’ access to highquality ECEC, workforce or facilities questions around ECEC, or ECEC costs to families.  


If your early childhood collaboration is interested in receiving research and analysis support, please complete this Request for Support and submit it to Brittain Ayres by September 22, 2023.  


Early Childhood Collaboration Data 201: Collecting and Summarizing Data 

One of the areas that collaborations request training and technical assistance in again and again is data. Collaborations know that data is important but may not know how to go about making data-informed decisions that can strengthen and deepen the impact of their work. In response, CS3 is offering a series of on-demand data modules that provide information, activities, and resources. These modules will help collaborations do their work more effectively which will ultimately improve outcomes for children and families in Illinois. 


Module 1 provides an overview of the goals for the course and a review of quantitative data collection. Module 2 helps collaborations assess community needs and outline a plan to collect data. Module 3 examines how to collect data through surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Module 4 explores how to present data in a way that can influence and support decision-making. 


Users can adapt the resources offered in this course to meet the unique needs of their collaboration and community to: 

· Further build collaboration knowledge of and comfort with data 

· Solidify skills around conducting surveys, focus groups, and interviews 

· Develop a plan for organizing data-centered events 


Thanks to generous funding from the Illinois State Board of Education, and in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, Illinois Action for Children is able to offer this support at no cost to you. You’ll find this course (and six others!) on ourOn-Demand Learning page. 

Happy learning! 


Reach Out and Read Mini Grant Opportunity 


Reach Out & Read-Illinois (ROR-IL) is launching a new mini grant opportunity for clinics that are currently implementing the ROR model and that need additional financial support. ROR-IL will provide mini grants of up to $5,000 to clinics. 

Register for an Informational Webinar on Thursday, September 14, 2023, from 12 to 12:30 p.m. to learn more about this book funding opportunity. The webinar presentation will detail the steps to apply and answer questions that you may have. 


For more information and to apply for the mini grant, please visit ROR’s website. 

IRIS Implementation Opportunity Available 


CS3 is still looking for one more community interested in launching the Integrated Referral and Intake (IRIS) platform in their community. The cost of implementation and access to IRIS is covered by CS3 through June 2024 and technical assistance will be provided by the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR) and CS3. 


IRIS is a streamlined referral, communication, and coordination tool. It was developed by the CPPR out of recognizing the referral needs of home visiting and early childhood programs. It is currently being used in Illinois by the All Our Kids (AOK) Network, select MIECHV Coordinated Intake programs, and home visiting community participants of the PDG B-5 IRIS for Home Visiting project (ROE 47, Madison County Coordinated Intake, DuPage Home Visiting Network, and Sangamon HEART), and others. 


To apply, please complete the following two items: 


Additional resources to support completing the applications are: 


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please submit them to Deb Hwang. 


 Illinois First Steps Offers $50 Seed Deposit for Children’s Education 

Illinois First Steps is offering a $50 seed deposit for eligible parents or legal guardians for their child’s future apprenticeship, trade school, community college, or university education. Eligibility requirement includes: 

  • Parents must be a resident of Illinois at the time of child’s birth or adoption 

  • Child must be born after January 1, 2023 

  • Parents or legal guardians must open a 529 college savings account with Bright Start or Bright Directions 

  • Parents or legal guardians must claim the $50 deposit prior to the child’s 10th birthday.  


Click here for more information.