ecf-30-button-150x150.jpgLOOKING FORWARD — ECF's 2017 Strategic Plan

access to preschool prepares Evanston's youngest

Connecting 3-5 year olds to high quality preschool and on into kindergarten, with the social-emotional and literacy skills to succeed, moves toward the ultimate goal of our impact plan — every youth ready for work.

the early-childhood continuum 

High quality preschool for more preschool aged children, enhancing early literacy, building social-emotional readiness, and engaging isolated parents are steps to kindergarten readiness in Evanston.

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  Vision and Discipline: Changing outcomes for children over the years from birth to high school graduation takes both vision and a disciplined approach.

extending access to early childhood programs and services

Of 31 3-year old home visiting "graduates" in 2012, 13 are enrolled in preschool. Evanston has excellent child care programs and preschools, but state subsidies for low-income families do not come close to covering their cost, so many low-income working families choose lower quality alternatives. Our partners help families with transitions into pre-kindergarten options.

scholarship funds and a private foundation grant increases choices for families

Most children go to preschool at District 65 or register with the Child Care Center of Evanston, but Cherry Preschool and Infant Welfare Society of Evanston have forged a partnership that allows some low-income families to consider Cherry for their children. ECF funds help to support this option.

the discipline of tracking retention rates and assessing results

Showing results is critical in attracting funds for highly intentional, evidence-based, long-term work like our Every child, Every youth program. Retention rates mirror what we hear anecdotally: parents value the support their home visitors give them, acting on between 60 and 75% of referrals for other services. Monitoring changes in parental feeling — stress reduction, less social isolation, increased feelings of support, new attitudes toward reading to and playing with infants — tells us if home visiting is effective for families. Continued training — Northern Illinois University's Center on Family Violence trains all Evanston home visitors twice a year in using four assessment tools. NIU researchers compare annual data to the original benchmark assessment. We monitor results and share them with our partners.