Illinois creates Department of Early Childhood to streamline services for young children

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker established a new state agency on Tuesday.

The Department of Early Childhood will focus on programming and services for the youngest people in the state.

The goal is to fully implement the agency by the year 2026, providing services all across the state with access to both care and education opportunities.

Prior to Tuesday's signing, services for young children were housed in three separate agencies, and state officials said that made it complex for many families to connect with the appropriate part of state government to get the care they need.

The consolidation will also make it easier for providers to seek state resources for things like daycare licensing.

"We underwent a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process, talking with families and providers with advocates and more to understand and consider the needs of everyone involved in the early childhood development infrastructure. That process paid off in a big way as we emerged with a plan to reach our goal of having the best in the nation in all early childhood services," Pritzker said.

Programs will be housed in their legacy agencies until that transition is complete.

A rollout plan is currently being developed.