Blog | January 24, 2024

Illinois Law Enforcement Leaders: Increase FY25 Resources for Children’s Well-Being

Fight Crime members stress crime-prevention opportunities in next state budget

As Illinois policymakers prepare to craft the next state spending plan, they should strengthen public safety through further investments in kids’ learning and development, according to police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors.

Sixteen of these law enforcement leaders — members of the Executive Committee of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids-Illinois — recently wrote to Governor Pritzker with recommendations for the FY25 proposal he will unveil on Feb. 21, a crucial step in the state’s annual budget-crafting process. Among other things, they encouraged the Governor to continue building on his Smart Start plan for bolstering early care and education statewide, which already is marking progress.

“Countering crime and violence calls for investing wisely in research-proven programs shown to be effective in putting children on track for success in life, a path leading away from trouble and involvement in the criminal justice system,” according to the letter, which was delivered to the Governor and key members of his Administration in December.

Among the Fight Crime priorities, shared by many of the organization’s policy-and-advocacy partners, is a $75 million increase in the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) that funds preK and some vital birth-to-3 services. This would be the second of four such annual increases to expand access and quality and reduce preschool “deserts,” a boost endorsed this week by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The Fight Crime letter goes on to name other important funding requests for strengthening child care and infant/toddler services. Together with the ECBG increase, these reflect the Illinois Early Childhood Funding Commission’s 2021 blueprint for improving the state’s birth-to-5 system, on which the Governor based many of his Smart Start plans.

The Fight Crime letter further expresses support for the Governor’s proposal to consolidate core early childhood programs into a single state agency with the goal of streamlining services and funding. The communication closes with a call for reinforcing two sets of services for school-aged youth: afterschool programs and the Redeploy Illinois juvenile-justice initiative.

The FY25 budget-development cycle began last October with ISBE hearings, at which Fight Crime joined partners in providing testimony in support of early education. As in past years, the organization’s law enforcement leaders will remain involved in the state budget process this spring through direct outreach to lawmakers and further testimony during the General Assembly’s appropriations hearings, with final budget decisions expected by June.

Given many decades of experience, our (Fight Crime) members know the value of prevention-oriented efforts in strengthening public safety.

from law enforcement leaders’ letter


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