(20 ILCS 1305/10-22)
Great START program.
(a) The Department of
Human Services shall,
subject to a specific appropriation for
this purpose, operate a Great START (Strategy To Attract and Retain
Teachers) program. The goal of the program is
to improve children's developmental and educational outcomes in child care by
increased professional preparation by staff and
staff retention. The Great START program shall coordinate with the TEACH
professional development program.
The program shall provide wage supplements and may include other incentives
to licensed child care center
personnel, including early childhood
teachers, school-age workers, early childhood assistants, school-age
assistants, and directors, as such positions are defined by
administrative rule of the Department of Children and Family Services. The
program shall provide wage supplements and may include other incentives to
licensed family day care home personnel and licensed group day care home
including caregivers and assistants as such positions are
defined by administrative rule of the Department of Children and Family
Services. Individuals will receive supplements
commensurate with their qualifications.
(c) The Department shall, by rule, define the scope and operation of the
program, including a wage supplement scale. The
scale shall pay increasing amounts for
higher levels of educational attainment beyond minimum qualifications and shall
recognize longevity of employment.
Subject to the availability of sufficient appropriation, the wage supplements
shall be paid to child care personnel in the form of
bonuses at 6 month intervals. Six months of
continuous service with a single employer is required to be eligible to receive
a wage supplement bonus. Wage
supplements shall be paid directly to individual day care personnel, not to
their employers. Eligible individuals must
provide to the Department or its agent all information and documentation,
including but not limited to college transcripts, to
demonstrate their qualifications for a particular
wage supplement level.
If appropriations permit, the Department may include one-time signing bonuses
or other incentives to help providers attract staff,
provided that the signing bonuses are less than the supplement staff would have
received if they had remained employed
with another day care center or family day care home.
If appropriations permit, the Department may include one-time longevity
bonuses or other incentives to recognize staff who have
remained with a single employer.
(Source: P.A. 93-711, eff. 7-12-04.)