Federal funding for kindergarten readiness in DeKalb County is one of $1.5 million worth of education projects Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, has proposed in Washington D.C.
According to a news release from Underwood’s office, the proposed 1.5 million in federal funding for education, health care and youth initiatives in the 14th District have advocated in the House of Representatives. Once approved by the House Appropriations Committee, the projects will advance to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
“Investments in education, health care, and foster youth are absolutely critical to the well-being of our community,” Underwood said in a statement. “I’m pleased to announce that $1.5 million for crucial projects I’ve fought for in Yorkville, DeKalb, Woodstock, St. Charles and Crystal Lake has advanced in the House of Representatives. I’ll continue to push for federal investment in these projects and other key priorities to support Illinois students and improve the health of our families and communities.”
Under the proposed considerations is $150,000 for the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, 2500 N. Annie Glidden Road, to expand the work of the DeKalb County Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative and Basics DeKalb County, a county-wide initiative to increase access to quality early learning opportunities.
According to the release, the funds would provide targeted supports to parents in Sandwich, Sycamore and Hinckley through culturally and developmentally appropriate materials, coaching and peer mentoring. The purpose of this project is to reduce kindergarten-readiness gaps by helping the parents better support the social, emotional, and cognitive development of their children.
The projects are formally called Community Project Funding requests, advanced in the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and the Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies. CPF is a new initiative for Fiscal Year 2022 that allows members of Congress to request direct funding for projects that benefit the communities they represent. Underwood submitted ten projects for consideration overall.
The following additional projects are also on the proposed list put forward by Underwood’s office:
In Kendall County, $200,000 would go to CASA Kendall County, used for the purchase and development of a “CASA Clubhouse,” a multi-use space serving families involved with the foster care system and their advocates. The Clubhouse would be a free, safe location for families to meet on court-ordered visitation. The space will also be used to store donated resources for families and as the permanent advocacy office for CASA of Kendall County. Currently, there is not a single facility in Kendall County dedicated to this need, while CASA reports that the number of children in care in the County doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to the release.
In Woodstock, $60,000 is proposed for Independence Health & Therapy, a nonprofit organization that offers physical therapy services. The funding would be used to purchase an electronic medical record database system for the facility’s adult day program and a separate and distinct EMR for its behavioral health program. The adult day and memory care program is the only such program in McHenry County and seeks to promote independence and improve the quality of life for adults and their family. The intent of the behavioral health program is to provide behavioral health services, within an outpatient community setting, to the greater McHenry County area, including traditional individual counseling, psychiatry services, preventative services and community supportive services. Appropriate technology improves the delivery of services and agency operations.
In St. Charles, the Kane County State’s Attorney’ Office has requested $350,000 to establish a pre-arrest diversion initiative on based on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion model. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has started to establish relationships with community-based agencies and mental and behavioral health service providers throughout Kane County, in addition to an early collaboration with the Elgin Police Department, which has created a Collaborative Crisis Services Unit in part to participate in pre-arrest diversion.
The funding for this project would allow the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office to hire three case managers and a community engagement coordinator, as well as secure operations funds and service dollars. The objectives of this initiative are to improve public safety, reduce the number of people entering the criminal legal system, eliminate racial disparities in the criminal legal system, create sustainability for the initiative by reinvesting systems savings and improve police-community relations. The core activity would be effective, harm-reduction, non-coercive case management of low-level nonviolent offenders.
In Crystal Lake, McHenry County College has requested $825,000, which would be used to expand the college’s existing dual credit and dual degree program in partnership with all 15 public schools in McHenry County. The funds would provide additional graduate education for high school instructors, qualifying more instructors to teach college courses at their high school and making dual credit and dual degree programs available for many more students. The funding would also be used to help underwrite the cost of college tuition, fees and course materials for students with demonstrated need.
Additional information on the projects can be found here can be found here.