We envision Illinois as a place where every young child – regardless of race, ethnicity, income, language, geography, ability, immigration status, or other circumstance – receives the strongest possible start to life so they grow up safe, healthy, happy, ready to succeed, and eager to learn.
In Illinois, a Coordinated Intake for Home Visiting Collaboratives Project provided an opportunity for four community collaborations across the state to implement IRIS and develop workflows that meet the needs of home visiting programs in their communities. While the needs and vision look different in each community, the goal is the same: ensuring that all families with young children are connected to the services they want and need.
Illinois envisions the State “...as a place where every young child – regardless of race, ethnicity, income, language, geography, ability, immigration status, or other circumstance – receives the strongest possible start to life so they grow up safe, healthy, happy, ready to succeed, and eager to learn.” As a part of this work, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) administers the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) . Under PDG B-5, the Coordinated Intake for Home Visiting Collaboratives Project supports a broader vision to establish coordinated points of entry throughout the state for home visiting as well as other early childhood care and education services. Through this project, IRIS has been implemented in four Illinois communities including rural regions.
Through IRIS implementation, meaningful community conversations have occurred on workflow, communication, coordination of home visiting referrals, and the need for community-specific demographic data to forward equity efforts. Each of the four collaborations embraced the flexibility of IRIS’s features to develop unique processes to support their respective community’s specific needs, while continuing to align with and forward the state’s shared vision.
Now that all four communities have launched, they will continue the work by growing and adapting their IRIS networks. One mechanism for supporting IRIS network cultivation is the IRIS Learning Communities. These are regularly scheduled peer-learning opportunities for the leadership teams involved in the PDG B-5 Coordinated Intake for Home Vising Collaboratives facilitated by the IRIS Team. From the start, this project has been unique because of the breadth of the communities involved, the representation of multiple sectors, and the roles of the leaders themselves. The Local IRIS Leadership Teams are comprised of pediatricians, social workers, home visitors, coordinated intake workers, school district programs, and more, all of whom have their own experiences and expertise to share with their peers in the IRIS Learning Communities. In addition to sharing perspectives, accomplishments, and lessons learned, the leadership teams utilize this time to discuss important project updates and connect around the shared vision of ensuring all young children receive the strongest start to life.
After months of development, the following community collaborations have launched and are now coordinating referrals through IRIS:
- Children’s Home and Aid Child Care Resource and Referral Program in Madison and St. Clair Counties
- Janice Moenster - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heidi Elliot - email@example.com
- Saundra Irish - firstname.lastname@example.org
- DuPage Home Visiting Network in DuPage County
- Jeanine Woltman - email@example.com
- Heather Moyer - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sangamon HEART through the SIU Medicine Department of Pediatrics in Sangamon County
- Dr. Meredith Volle - email@example.com
- Gwen Walsh - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sauk Valley STARS Early Childhood Coalition through the Regional Office of Education 47 in Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside Counties
- Lois Meisenheimer - email@example.com
- Diana Merdian - firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the project, contact Deborah Hwang, PDG B-5 Home Visiting Project Manager at the Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, at Deborah.Hwang@Illinois.gov.