General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) Form

OMB Control Number 1894-0005
Expiration 2/28/2026

Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (20 U.S.C. 1228a) applies to applicants for grant awards under this program.


Please respond to the following requests for information:

1. Describe how your entity's existing mission, policies, or commitments ensure equitable access to, and equitable participation in, the proposed project or activity.

The lead agency's mission is to provide equitable access to social/human services, supports, programs and resources to enhance the lives of all who we serve. In addition, our core values are the guiding principles that shape our behavior and actions. These values are:

  • Human Dignity
  • Equity
  • Community Informed
  • Urgency
  • Transparency
  • Kindness

In addition to the agency-wide commitment to equitable access, the Division for Early Childhood's (DEC) mission is to enhance equitable access to child care, home visiting, and early intervention programs and services that support whole child development. DEC, which houses the Bureau of Early Intervention, has developed five strategic goals to drive systemic change. One of these goals is to enhance access and enrollment. The Division has also identified equity as a cross-cutting priority and has committed to: "Center equity in the planning and implementation of prioritized objectives to ensure that DEC programs, policies, and processes promote equitable outcomes" (DEC Strategic Roadmap (April 2022)). In its strategic planning process, DEC "commits to using equity as a value to guide the development and operationalization of objectives, and as an outcome by which the success of these objectives is measured".

As a program, we ensure equitable access to the early intervention system through our regional system points of entry that cover the state of Illinois. To promote equitable participation, we have local interagency councils with child find responsibilities that increase awareness of early intervention services and work to identify children who may be potentially eligible.

The Bureau of Early Intervention administers the program through a variety of contracted partners. Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) were recently modified to include deliverables related to equity including equitable access to services for families, training and professional development that supports a deeper understanding of equity, bias, and anti-racist practices, recruitment and retention practices that support equitable access to the system, and a more diverse and representative workforce.

2. Based on your proposed project or activity, what barriers may impede equitable access and participation of students, educators, or other beneficiaries?
Illinois is currently facing personnel shortages that affect our ability to support all children and families equitably. Moreover, a recent equity assessment has revealed several areas in which barriers may impede equitable access, including a lack of racial/ethnic diversity within our system's existing provider pool, challenges in delivering services in under-resourced communities, existing providers' understanding of, and respect for, community/racial differences, and that families may have varying support needs that are not adequately addressed by our current processes. We have also analyzed our family outcomes data and found that families' experiences of the system's helpfulness vary across racial/ethnic groups.

3. Based on the barriers identified, what steps will you take to address such barriers to equitable access and participation in the proposed project or activity?

To address personnel shortages, efforts are underway to improve compensation, expanded outreach to preservice preparation programs that support historically marginalized populations, and development of alternative pathways for credentialing/workforce entry. DHS will also continue to leverage ARPA funds to support efforts to conduct research, modeling and evaluation of funding methods used by peer states that improve provider recruitment and retention, support opportunities for upskilling, and utilization of bi-directional knowledge-sharing mechanisms with external stakeholders.

The Bureau of Early Intervention is currently working toward establishment and implementation of a pilot of modified service delivery that addresses the complex needs of families who are experiencing significant adversity. This pilot will also allow us to examine strategies to reduce waitlists for families who have experienced disparities in access to services. The goal of the project is to improve the outcomes for infants and toddlers in underserved communities by providing them with access to culturally responsive, high-quality Early Intervention (EI) services.

The Early Intervention Training Program is reviewing existing professional development and support opportunities to see how they can deepen understanding of bias, racialized design, and cultural humility.

A number of groups, including the Outcomes Workgroup and the Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention (the states Interagency Coordinating Council) are currently reviewing existing data, engaging in discussions to increase their understanding of families' experiences, and investigating methods for collecting more representative responses. With better data, we will be more poised to make informed modifications to our current system processes.

System leaders are also participating in technical assistance efforts such as the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center's Part C equity cohort and the equitable family outcomes intensive TA opportunity.

4. What is your timeline, including targeted milestones, for addressing these identified barriers?

Increased funding proposed in governor's budget for SFY2024 will begin to address compensation issues for the early intervention workforce. Milestones include improved recruitment and retention.

Expanded outreach and alternative pathways discussions have begun and will continue throughout the next 3-5 years. Milestone includes a more diverse and representative workforce.

The modified service delivery approach has a 3 to 6 month planning process with 2-year implementation and evaluation process. Milestones include a more culturally sensitive workforce and improved access to services.

Review of training/professional development began in SFY2022 and is ongoing. EITP has been working with racial and equity consultants to support personnel in ensuring a racial equity and implicit bias lens to all EITP events and projects. EITP is also engaging in cross-system collaboration to increase equitable access to EI services, to deepen understanding of respective systems and resources, and build knowledge across systems. EITP is also supporting Pyramid implementation with state EC partners. Milestones include access to PD offerings focused on racial equity, implicit bias, racialized design and, with Pyramid implementation in EI, support for culturally responsive practices that reduce bias, disproportionality, suspension and expulsion, and supports capacity-building of an effective workforce

Expanded analyses of family outcomes data began with technical assistance in SFY2021. Analysis of outcomes by race/ethnicity began in SFY2023. An application for additional intensive technical assistance was submitted in March of 2023. Adjustments to data collection and review of data analyses with stakeholders have been ongoing. Milestones include increased return rates, more representative responses, increased understanding of nonresponse bias, and improved program evaluation that addresses accessibility, equity, and quality.


  1. Applicants are not required to have mission statements or policies that align with equity in order to submit an application.
  2. Applicants may identify any barriers that may impede equitable access and participation in the proposed project or activity, including, but not limited to, barriers based on economic disadvantage, gender, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, disability, age, language, migrant status, rural status, homeless status or housing insecurity, pregnancy, parenting, or caregiving status, and sexual orientation.
  3. Applicants may have already included some or all of this required information in the narrative sections of their applications or their State Plans. In responding to this requirement, for each question, applicants may provide a cross-reference to the section(s) and page number(s) in their applications or State Plans that includes the information responsive to that question on this form or may restate that information on this form.

Paperwork Burden Statement
According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. The valid OMB control number for this information collection is 1894-0005. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 3 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering, and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit. If you have any comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate or suggestions for improving this individual collection, send your comments to and reference OMB Control Number 1894-0005. All other comments or concerns regarding the status of your individual form may be addressed to either (a) the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section in the competition Notice Inviting Applications, or (b) your assigned program officer.