Illinois among 13 lowest states for overall care for babies

Local News

Babies are born with an infinite amount of potential, but a new report shows that Illinois ranks among the lowest of states in providing good health, strong families, and positive learning experiences. 

The report, made by the State of Babies Yearbook: 2019, looks at nearly 60 indicators that affect the well-being of children across the nation. 

Illinois, along with 12 other states, earned a the lowest ranking overall. 

It’s a tiered ranking process using the letters GROW. 

  • G- Getting Started
  • GR- Reaching Forward
  • GRO- Improving Outcomes 
  • GROW- Working Effectively

Illinois received a G-rating overall.

“Children are critical to the success of our community and we need to make sure we intervene early,” said Jennifer Zammuto, President of Heart of Illinois United Way. “There are lots of incredible programs in our community that do this.”

When it comes to good health, the state came away with a reaching forward grade, but the report says Illinois is improving outcomes for strong families. 

“We just need to take a step back from this,” said Jeff Gress, CEO of Crittenton Centers. “See where we’re doing well, because when I reviewed it we were doing relatively well, but there’s obviously areas where we have room for growth.” 

When it comes to positive early learning experiences Illinois, again, received the lowest rating.

“We’re trying to build a strong community and where that happens is with individual families,” said Gress. “The stronger the family, the stronger the community. The role we can have in that is engaging, equipping and preparing these families for the future.”

The report specifically states that Yearbook highlights areas where Illinois stil has room to improve to give the youngest of Illinoisans, which make up 3.6 percent of the state population, a chance to thrive. 

“Each of the 465,358 babies in Illinois was born with a bundle of unlimited potential and the first three years of their life will shape every year that follows,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of ZERO TO THREE. “But far too many babies face persistent hardships—such as food insecurity, unstable housing, and exposure to violence—that undermine their ability to grow and thrive.”

Illinois’ young children fare better than the national average in:

  • Uninsured rate: 3.3 percent of Illinois’ low-income infants and toddlers are uninsured, compared to the national average of 5.8 percent.
  • Adverse childhood experiences: 3.8 percent of babies in Illinois faced two or more adverse childhood experiences, compared to the national average of 8.3 percent.
  • Developmental screening: 39.4 percent of Illinois’ babies received developmental screening, compared to the national average of 30.4 percent.

Illinois’ young children fare worse than the national average in:

  • Prenatal care: 5.8 percent of pregnant women in Illinois received late or no prenatal care, compared to the national average of 6.2 percent.
  • Crowded housing: 13.8 percent of babies in Illinois live in crowded housing, compared to the national average of 15.6 percent.
  • Singing: 47.8 percent of parents in Illinois sing to their baby every day, compared to the national average of 56.4 percent.

The Children’s Home Association of Illinois located in Peoria also weighed in on the report.

“Infants and toddlers need safe, predictable, responsive caring giving. Parents and other caregivers provide the primary foundation for development in infants and toddlers. When there is additional stress from environmental circumstances such as poverty, poor housing, or community violence, or when there are genetic or factors that make caring for an infant particularly challenging, such as prematurity, developmental disabilities, or special health care needs, parents’ capacity to provide their infant or toddler with consistent, sensitive, responsive care can be effected. However, when families have access to services supporting them in care giving, such as quality early childhood programs, health care, housing, parents are able to provide an environment for optimal brain development.”

They go on to say…

Children’s Home of Illinois has been caring for the children in our community for 150 years. Operating from six locations in the Peoria area, our staff of 400+ professionals are committed to community-based, family-focused programs that provide counseling, education and support to more than 1,700 children and families each month. In terms of early childhood programs, Children’s home offers doula services, home visiting, parent groups, teen parent programs, early childhood mental consultation, and a visiting nurse program for new mothers. Finally, Children’s home early childhood programs are part of a collaboration of early childhood providers called the Early Childhood Forum. This organization of leaders in early childhood work to improve programs and to advocate for more funding in early childhood. Through these services and collaborations Children’s Home provides vital resources and support to families with young children.

“211 is that one place where every not-for-profit in our community can feed information in so we can get people what they need,” said Zammuto. 

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CLICK HERE for the full 48-page report.

CLICK HERE for a breakdown on specifically Illinois.

Locally, SAL Child Care ConnectionCrittenton Centers, Child Care Resource & Referral Program, and the Illinois Department of Human Services helps families with childhood needs. 

CLICK HERE for more information on the 211 service provided through United Way. Dial 211 or 309-999-4029.

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States Rankings

State

Overall ranking

Good Health

Strong Families

Positive Early Learning Experiences

Alabama

G

G

G

GR

Alaska

GRO

GR

G

GRO

Arizona

G

GR

G

G

Arkansas

G

G

G

G

California

GR

GROW

GRO

G

Colorado

GROW

GROW

GRO

GROW

Connecticut

GROW

GROW

GROW

GRO

Delaware

GROW

GR

GROW

GROW

District of Columbia

GRO

GRO

GROW

GRO

Florida

G

G

GR

G

Georgia

GR

GR

GR

GR

Hawaii

GRO

GROW

GRO

GR

Idaho

GR

GRO

GRO

G

Illinois

G

GR

GRO

G

Indiana

GR

GR

G

GRO

Iowa

GRO

GROW

GRO

GRO

Kansas

GR

GR

GRO

GR

Kentucky

G

G

GR

GRO

Louisiana

GR

G

G

GROW

Maine

GROW

GRO

GR

GROW

Maryland

GROW

GROW

GROW

GRO

Massachusetts

GROW

GROW

GROW

GROW

Michigan

GR

GR

G

GR

Minnesota

GROW

GROW

GROW

GR

Mississippi

G

G

GR

GR

Missouri

GRO

G

GROW

GR

Montana

GROW

GRO

GR

GROW

Nebraska

GRO

GR

GRO

GROW

Nevada

G

G

G

G

New Hampshire

GROW

GROW

GROW

GROW

New Jersey

GRO

GR

GROW

GRO

New Mexico

GRO

GR

G

GROW

New York

GR

GRO

G

GR

North Carolina

GRO

GRO

GR

GRO

North Dakota

GR

GR

GR

GRO

Ohio

GRO

GRO

GRO

GRO

Oklahoma

G

G

G

GRO

Oregon

GRO

GRO

GRO

GR

Pennsylvania

GRO

GRO

GRO

GRO

Rhode Island

GROW

GROW

GROW

GROW

South Carolina

GR

GR

GR

G

South Dakota

GRO

GRO

G

GROW

Tennessee

G

G

GR

G

Texas

G

G

GR

G

Utah

GR

GRO

GR

G

Vermont

GROW

GROW

GROW

GROW

Virginia

GR

GRO

GRO

G

Washington

GROW

GROW

GROW

GR

West Virginia

G

G

GR

GR

Wisconsin

GR

GRO

GRO

G

Wyoming

G

G

G

GR

About ZERO TO THREE

ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all infants and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers.

About Think BabiesTM

ZERO TO THREE created the Think Babies campaign to make the potential of every baby a national priority. When we Think Babies and invest in infants, toddlers, and their families, we ensure a strong future for us all. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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