Illinois Passes Legislation To Decrease Use of Expulsions in Early Care and Education Settings
Illinois passed legislation in 2017 that prohibits early childhood programs receiving funds from the State Board of Education (ISBE) from expelling children aged 0-5 for behavioral issues.
The legislation also requires the Department of Children and Family Services to develop rules that will apply the prohibition to licensed child care programs. Early childhood programs will now need to document how they attempt to address a child’s needs if he or she is persistently exhibiting challenging behavior. This could include developmental screenings, referrals to early intervention or early childhood special education, or consultation with an infant early childhood mental health consultant or the child’s health care provider. If these efforts fail, programs can work with parents to transition children to a different early childhood program that will be more able to meet their needs. These planned transitions are not considered expulsions. The new law calls on state agencies to make trainings and resources available to early care and education providers to help them change their practice. It also requires that ISBE track the number of planned transitions that occur and what support services are being utilized to prevent them. That information will be included in a report shared biennially with the legislature beginning in 2020. For more information on preventing preschool and child care expulsions, visit ZERO TO THREE’s web portal.