All Our Kids (AOK)/ DuPage Early Childhood Collaboration (DECC)
What is the All Our Kids (AOK) Early Childhood Network?
The All Our Kids (AOK) Early Childhood Network was launched in 1999 to support collaboration across service areas to improve the lives of babies, young children, families, and caretakers through a holistic systems approach. This initiative is a collaborative effort between the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Early Childhood, Illinois State Board of Education, Local Health Departments, and local agencies such as WIC, Healthy Families, and Birth to Five serving pregnant women, children ages zero to five years old and their parents/caregivers. It is the most comprehensive, long-standing, community-based systems development initiative in Illinois.
What is the DuPage Early Childhood Collaboration (DECC)?
The DuPage Early Childhood Collaboration (DECC) was established in 2014 as a regional early childhood collaboration to support county level system development and alignment for young children and their families, to build awareness and to facilitate access to high quality early childhood services and education. The DECC’s mission is to bring together early childhood professionals, parents, and community stakeholders to promote the healthy development of young children and to ensure that all children have access to high-quality early childhood programs and services. The DECC works to achieve its mission through a variety of initiatives, including advocacy, professional development for early childhood educators, parent education and support, and data collection and analysis.
In 2022, DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) was named the backbone agency for the DuPage Early Childhood Collaboration (DECC). In the same year, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development awareded DCHD the All Our Kids (AOK) grant. In order to best support early childhood initiatives in DuPage County, DuPage Early Childhood Collaboration (DECC) and All Our Kids (AOK) are coming together improve community systems, streamline services, and ensure efficient use of resources between community partners. DECC and AOK will facilitate conversations with collaboration leaders in DuPage to co-create strategies to align our work.
AOK/DECC is building upon existing coordinated intake efforts to launch a web-based referral platform called, the Integrated Resource and Information System (IRIS). IRIS, as it is known, helps partners connect children and families to high quality early childhood programs, social service providers, medical and dental services, job training programs, and other community resources to meet family needs. AOKs initial focus will be to engage service providers to utilize IRIS to ensure resources can be easily accessed by families.
AOK/DECC works with a wide range of stakeholders representing health, mental health, early learning, human services, family support, faith-based organizations, and families. AOK/DECC with partners will work alongside the Birth to Five Illinois program in the region to advocate for the needs in DuPage County. This will allow us to provide direct feedback to the Governor’s office.
The overall goal is to ensure locally that babies are born healthy, children are safe, healthy, developing positively, and enter school ready to learn.
All Our Kids (AOK) Early Childhood Network and DuPage County
DuPage County is located 20 miles west of Chicago and is home to 930,759 residents, of which 65,454 are children ages 5 and younger. The community is predominantly white (79.5%), Hispanic or Latino (14.6%), and Asian (12.7%). Nineteen percent of the county was born outside of the United States and speak languages as diverse as Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Farsi, Arabic, and more. DuPage County is home to 39 municipalities including Naperville, Oak Brook, St. Charles, Glen Ellyn, and Lisle.
The All Our Kids (AOK) Early Childhood Network seeks to improve the system of services by collaborating with local organizations to streamline services to the populations in need by using our Integrated Referral and Intake System. IRIS is a web-based information, referral, and casework intake platform that will connect our local high-needs community to local programs that will help them make their time as new parents/caregivers easier. Families can refer to AOK as a library of knowledge where they can feel supported and access resources, so their children are Kindergarten ready.
How do we meet the community where they are at?
The Parent Ambassador program is a paid volunteer opportunity for families to engage in the work that AOK is doing. We want to hear directly from families on the challenges they have and how we can help connect them to resources. The key is to have parents who have knowledge of our programs and how they can help our target population. By listening to the feedback families have to offer, we will have a more holistic view on what the needs are in our communities. This will give us the opportunity to connect with other organizations and inform them how IRIS makes the referral process more efficient. The vision for Parent Ambassadors is to facilitate conversations with other parents in their communities to bring awareness to the AOK network of resources and services that are needed in the community. We are looking for Parent Ambassadors throughout DuPage County to capture a holistic view of the needs in DuPage County.
The DuPage County’s AOK Network knows that for children to get the best start in life, families need a strong community system where organizations and collaborations work together toward common goals for young children. It takes a village to raise one child and DuPage wants to bring the resources to that village to give children the best chance to thrive in our county. By communicating and coordinating services across service sectors through IRIS and a strong AOK Network that includes parent voice, the DuPage County AOK Network will be better prepared to improve the lives for children and families in our community.
Are you interested in this paid volunteer opportunity?
Fill out the Parent Ambassador Interest Form today!
Christine Gandam, Community Initiatives Coordinator
(630) 221-7044 / [email protected]
Deyanira Cabrera, Family Engagement Specialist (Hablo Español)
(630) 221-5329 / [email protected]
- Parent Ambassador Flyer (English/Spanish)
- What is AOK Flyer (English/Spanish)
- DECC/AOK Informational Flyer (English/Spanish)
We want to hear from you, fill out our Parent Survey today!
Completa esta Encuesta para Padres hoy!"