Recently, Illinois became one of only a handful of states to pass legislation to curtail the overall rates and disproportionality of early childhood expulsion. As of January 1, 2018, programs funded by the Illinois State Board of Education or licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services must make every possible effort to retain a child, document their use of any and all available resources, services, and interventions. Additionally, programs are required to report on the characteristics of all children served by their program, turnover, and separations, as well as utilization of resources. If and when a program has exhausted all available resources and made substantial efforts to retain a child, only then, and with parental permission, is it now permitted to transfer the child to another program. Unlike in other states and municipalities, this new law, Public Act 100-0105, represents unprecedented coordination across state agencies, advocacy groups, and service providers. However, it remains to be seen whether this coordination will continue throughout the implementation process and dissemination of information regarding the law. To that end, we sought to conduct a preliminary investigation of Illinois early childhood programs’ current and prior expulsion practices, in addition to their understanding of and responses to the new law. Our investigation leveraged a coalition of ECE community partners who informed the design, implementation, and interpretation phases. Findings broadly point towards systematic variance in programs’ level of knowledge of the law, comfort, and confidence complying with its stipulations, perceived benefits, and unintended consequences, as well as past and expected disciplinary procedures and experiences accessing evidence-based resources and supports. (author abstract)
Evaluation report of the implementation of Illinois Public Act 100-0105: Early childhood programs’ knowledge of and responses to the 2018 expulsion legislation
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