Birth to 8
Birth to age 8 encompasses a wide range of important developmental milestones during which critical physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development takes place. These first eight years of life serve as a vital foundation for children’s success in school and later in work and life. Unfortunately, too many Illinois children don’t get off to a strong start, due to economic, language, and other barriers. Research tells us that children who start their formal years of education less prepared than their peers fall further and further behind. Early childhood experiences profoundly influence educational, health, social, and economic outcomes later in life.
Voices leads collaborations and public awareness campaigns to encourage implementation of sound, evidence-based public policies for children from birth to age 8. We focus on educating policymakers, community and business leaders, parents, and others about the importance of investing in programs that offer every child the opportunity to succeed. When we invest in healthier, better-educated children, we strengthen our economy by creating a more capable workforce, and we save our state money by reducing the need for costly future interventions.
Learn more about our policy strategies to improve outcomes for children birth to age 8
- Birth to 5 (Issues areas include Home Visiting; Preschool for All; Early Childhood Block Grant; Early Intervention; Head Start/Early Head Start; Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map)
- Great at 8
- Child Care in our Family Economic Security section
- Social and Emotional Learning and Services for English Language Learners in our Education section
- Afterschool Programming in our Youth Development section
- Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition in our Trauma and Violence section
Contact the Birth to 8 team
Gaylord Gieseke, President (312) 516-5565
Madelyn James, Project Director (312) 516-5573
Joan Vitale, Special Initiatives Director (312) 516-5555
Kelley Talbot, Assistant Director of Policy Advocacy (312) 516-5572
Sergio Hernandez, Jr., Policy Associate, Illinois Early Childhood Fellow (312) 516-5554