Funding for Basics DeKalb County Advances through House Appropriations Committee


Basics DeKalb County, a local initiative housed in the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, was announced as one of the projects Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) chose to receive federal funding through the new Community Project Funding initiative. This new initiative for Fiscal Year 2022 allows Members of Congress to request direct funding for projects that benefit the communities they represent. “Since Day One in Congress, it’s been a priority of mine to bring federal resources to the 14th District to strengthen our community and grow our economy. With my new assignment to the House Appropriations Committee, I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to do even more to invest in our region so northern Illinois families can thrive,” said Underwood in a statement. “I’m pleased to see that over $10.5 million has been included in the House funding bills, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress until these resources are seen and felt in our community.”

Rep. Underwood specifically secured $150,000 for the Regional Office of Education to expand the work of Basics DeKalb County which seeks to increase access to quality early learning opportunities for families with young children. The project has advanced through the House Appropriations Committee and will next advance to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

The funding for this project will provide targeted support for families with children ages 0-5 in the communities represented in IL-14: Sycamore, Hinckley, and Sandwich. Families will enroll in “Push Play” parent cohorts where the 5 evidence-based nurturing practices of The Basics will be modeled. Families will receive direct support with coaching and peer mentorship and developmental toolkits to support at-home learning. The funding for this project will provide opportunities for up to 150 families within these 3 communities in DeKalb County.

The DeKalb Regional Office of Education is the backbone organization for The DeKalb County Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative. The collaborative is comprised of local organizations and stakeholders working to increase the number of DeKalb County children ready for kindergarten. (see for more information).  The collaborative adopted the local initiative, Basics DeKalb County, in 2018 as a means to engage all of DeKalb County in order to support the community’s youngest learners. Because 80% of brain growth happens in the first 3 years of a child’s life, Basics DeKalb County seeks to saturate the entire community with the 5 evidence-based nurturing practices that promote optimal brain development in young children (see for more information). Courtney Hill, Basics DeKalb County Project Lead, said in a statement, “The experiences children have early on in life have a big impact on all future learning, behavior and health. Everyday interactions between children, their parents, caregivers, and any adult in the community can provide rich opportunities to boost brain development. Every person and place in our community can do the 5 Basics so that every child here in DeKalb County will have a great start in life.”

Currently Basics DeKalb County relies on charitable donations from private funders, agencies, institutions and volunteers. Amanda Christensen, Regional Superintendent of DeKalb County Schools said in a statement, “I am so honored to be a leader in the strong early learning efforts of DeKalb County. The DeKalb Regional Office of Education requested this funding from Congresswoman Underwood because we know that not every child has access to high quality early childhood education in a formal setting. It is the responsibility of the entire community to raise our children. We requested funding to expand Basics DeKalb County directly to families in a culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate manner that focuses on social emotional learning as the foundation of all other learning. We are grateful that Congresswoman Underwood understands the exponential return on investment when we provide resources for our youngest and most vulnerable.”