(Left to right) Shauna Ejeh, Senior Vice President of Programs at Illinois Action for Children; Ann Whalen, Early Childhood Transition Director; and Bela Moté, President & CEO at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning testified before the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on March 13 in support of the Department of Early Childhood Act.

On March 13, Carole Robertson Center President & CEO Bela Moté testified before the Illinois Senate Executive Committee in support of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed Department of Early Childhood.

If passed, the Department of Early Childhood Act (SB1) will consolidate early childhood programs under a unified state agency, eliminating red tape for families and providers alike. Currently, these services are administered by three separate agencies: the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).

Moté, who was selected by Governor Pritzker to chair the Department of Early Childhood’s Transition Advisory Committee, implored Illinois lawmakers to streamline access to high-quality early childhood services.

“We are now at a turning point. A reimagined, unified state agency for early childhood education can position itself as a one-stop shop for families and providers alike—promoting equity, efficiency, and access,” Moté said. “By supporting the creation of a unified early childhood agency, we can make a profound impact on the lives of countless children and bring ourselves another step closer to the vision of making Illinois the best state in which to raise a family.”

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Since 1976, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has been dedicated to educating, enriching, and empowering children and families through comprehensive child and family development programs.