Over 100 Chicago-area parents are heading to Springfield Wednesday to speak out against potential budget cuts to early childhood learning programs and services.
The parents traveling to the Illinois State Capitol, as part of the Chicago-based Latino Policy Forum's annual Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day, are affiliated with 16 early childhood education providers and community partners. In Springfield, parents are expected to share stories with lawmakers "that illustrate the outcomes of early learning programs and services accessed by their children and families," according to the Latino Policy Forum.
Officials with the Latino Policy Forum say parents are particularly worried about potential restrictions in the eligibility criteria for Early Intervention and the Child Care Assistance Program outlined in Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed 2016 budget plan.
"The implications are particularly concerning for Latinos," the organization noted in a news release. "Despite their growing share of the state's birth-to-five population, Latinos have the least access to early learning opportunities amongst all racial and ethnic groups in Illinois."