Model Communities Grantee

Illinois Action For Children

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Grantee Summary

Illinois Action for Children (IAFC) has fought to ensure that all children in Illinois have access to high-quality early care and education opportunities and that low-income, working families are supported in their goals of economic self-sufficiency and stability. Through its many programs and initiatives, Illinois Action for Children serves more than 50,000 families each month, and sees 3,000 clients each week at the organization’s three Chicago walk-in sites. They directly serve over 260,000 parents, children and child care providers annually.

Policy, System and Environmental (PSE) Changes

IAFC is utilizing funding from the Model Communities program to promote healthy eating and active living via completion of the following PSEs:

  • Increased participation in the Child & Adult Care Food Program of eligible license-exempt child care providers certified on the Child Care Assistance Program by 200%, thus supporting child care provider adoption of nutrition standards. This will impact approximately 200 family child care providers and 1000 children who come from low-income homes in the west and south suburbs;
  • Incorporation of healthy eating and physical activity within the required annual training system delivered through IAFC to family child care providers and center staff. The training will be available to all suburban Cook County child care providers and will impact 1000 home providers and staff and at least 5000 children annually; and
  • Incorporation of healthy eating and physical activity as a standard within the state child care policy agenda.

Highlights and Successes

  • Over 100 child care providers serving over 300 low-income children in the South suburbs attended healthy eating and active living seminars taking ideas and resources back to their children along with strategies on how to involve parents.
  • Curriculum was developed for training child care providers on how to overcome barriers to a healthy lifestyle by making food dollars stretch, healthy makeovers for recipe favorites and how to incorporate physical activity in small indoor spaces for children.
  • IAFC held the “Healthy Children, Healthy Families & Healthy Communities” forum with fellow Model Community, Broadview Park District. The panel was led by CBS 2 Chicago’s Derrick Young, and the panel included State Representative LaShawn K. Ford. The audience of forty was engaged, talkative, and made plans to continue the dialogue.

Sustainability of PSE Changes

  • Recommendations have been made to Illinois State Board of Education and Department of Child and Family Services for improved regulations that promote healthy eating and physical activity along with recommendations to eliminate barriers for low-income families.
  • Ten percent (10%) of healthy eating and active living trainings offered to childcare centers and homes are planned to become part of IAFC’s annual training plan beginning Spring 2012.

Contact Information

Illinois Action For Children
4753 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640
Contact: Tom Browning - Director of Child Nutrition & Wellness Programs
Phone: 773-564-8739
Email: browningt@actforchildren.org
Technical Assistance Partner: American  Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate, The Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation