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Family Advisory Committee

As of November 2020, the Family Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Illinois Early Learning Council (ELC) has been established and has begun its work! The FAC is a group of diverse parents from throughout the State who will add parent voice, perspective, and experience to the early childhood system and policy landscape through participation in the ELC and its committees.

Around four years ago, the ELC began the process of creating an avenue for parents and families to have intentional input and participation within the ELC and Illinois' early childhood education and care systems. The ELC created the Family Engagement and Implementation Subcommittee (FEIS), which was comprised of parents, parent advocates, and community and agency representatives. The charge of the FEIS was to research and propose the best way to create the needed parent voice on the ELC. The recommendation from the FEIS (Proposal for Family Advisory Committee (FAC) and FAC Proposal Executive Summary), which was approved by the ELC Executive Committee in February of 2019, was to create a standing Family Advisory Committee (FAC) within the Council.

Committee Leadership & Support

The Family Advisory Committee is co-chaired by Dena Chapman and Stacee Leatherman. Elizabeth Hamilton-Campos serves as the co-facilitator.

2021 Family Advisory Committee Goals

  • Goal #1: Due to the pandemic and staffing shortages, enrollment is down in early childhood education and care settings across the state of Illinois. This committee will seek to identify additional barriers and brainstorm solutions to increase enrollment.
  • Goal #2: Create a standardized process that effectively supports and embeds parent engagement across all early childhood education and care programs and systems in the state of Illinois.
  • Goal #3: Identify barriers and potential solutions for inclusion related to disabilities, racial disparities, economic disparities, and culturally responsive practices in Early Intervention and within early childhood education and care settings.

Meeting Schedule

All Family Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Meeting dates, times, and locations are posted to the Early Learning Council Meeting Schedule, which can be viewed as a calendar or a list of upcoming events. Meeting agendas and approved minutes will be posted to the event page for each meeting.


In the Fall of 2020, over 100 applications were received from parents throughout the State who were interested in being part of the FAC. The FAC parent leaders who were selected are listed below and represent diverse ethnicities, family backgrounds, experiences, early childhood education interests, and geographical regions throughout Illinois.


Kristen Medrano

Cheryse Singleton-Nobles


Whitney Brooks

Cori Mohr

(DuPage, Lake, Kane, Will, McHenry, Grundy, Kendall, Kankakee counties)

Bhairvi Patel

David Quiroz

(Dekalb, Lee, Ogle, Carroll, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, Whiteside, Jo Daviess, Mercer counties)

Samantha McDavid

Courtney Hill

(Rock Island, Henry, LaSalle, Logan, Cass, Adams, Brown, Peoria, McDonough, Fulton, Bureau, Putnam, Stark, Marshall, Woodford, Knox, Mercer, Warren, Henderson, Hancock, Schuyler, Mason, Menard, Tazewell counties)

Stacee Leatherman

Darcy Walton

(Pike, Scott, Morgan, Sangamon, Christian, Montgomery, Macoupin, Greene, Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, Washington, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, East Side counties)

Joan Van

LeAnn Swain

(Fayette, Effingham, Jasper, Crawford, Lawrence, Richland, Clay, Marion, Jefferson, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Egyptian, Hamilton, Franklin-Williamson, Perry, Jackson, Southern Seven counties)

Stephanie Brown

Kelly Calloway

(Livingston, Ford, Iroquois, McLean, Champaign-Urbana, Vermillion, DeWitt-Piatt, Macon, Moultrie, Coles, Edgar, Clark, Cumberland, Shelby, Douglas counties)

Aubrey Stapleton

LaKeesha Smith

The following former FEIS members are supporting the FAC parent leaders as mentors:

  • Yolanda Williams
  • Donna Carpenter
  • Liliana Olayo
  • Elizabeth Hamilton Campos
  • Maralda Davis
  • Letti Hicks
  • Dexter Leggins


This project was made possible by grant number 90TP0057. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.