Early childhood programs in Chicago are receiving a federal funding boost to support families in zip codes disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services, which handles city-run preschool, is set to take in $1.3 million that will be distributed to community organizations that work with the department to provide various family services.
The federal dollars come from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund, which was split among states and forwarded on to municipalities to support existing programs that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Chicago’s Board of Education, which received the city’s share of the funds, is expected to sign off on an agreement at its monthly meeting Wednesday that will send a portion of the money to DFSS.
DFSS will support some of its community-based partners that serve prenatal parents and children up to five years old in designated communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The funds are earmarked to be used throughout this school year for expenses including mental health consultation; professional development to improve social emotional learning and trauma-informed care; support materials for home visits; personal protective equipment for children and staff; salaries for teachers or other staff for time worked outside their normal hours due to COVID-19; purchasing technology for parent support and remote learning; and home-learning materials.