June 13, 2024

Smart Start gets further investment

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)- Smart Start, a program to ensure families can get their little ones into early childhood education, gets more funding.

The Smart Start program started as a $250-million investment from the state of Illinois to help aid families in ensuring their children get early childhood intervention, home visits, and education.

Governor JB Pritzker visited Peoria Heights Grade School classrooms and held a conference to speak more on the matter. “The impact that that investing in the very youngest children has on all the other issues that I care about. Right, the health care of people later in their lives, if you get preschool, if you get early childhood intervention, and so on. Your health is improved.”

Illinois just passed its State Fiscal Year budget for 2024 and is allotting another $175-million into Smart Start funding. It has been reported that there are areas that are considered “Preschool Deserts”. Where families do not have access to preschool, and even if there is a preschool, they are too booked to take the child.

“The fact that kids who get preschool and early intervention end up more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to get a job, less likely to end up in prison. It goes on and on.” said Pritzker when speaking on the importance of early childhood education.

Pritzker says that the overall goal of the program is to eliminate preschool deserts in Illinois and have public preschool education available for every child.

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