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As a parent, it is both your obligation and responsibility to find the best nurturing and educational environment for your child, thus making a decision  on a day care home, day care center or preschool a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, the state of Illinois offers you its recourses to help you make the right choice regarding day care facilities.

DCFS Day Care Licensing Standards

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services handles the issuance of licenses for day care homes, centers and group day care homes in the state of IL. In order for a day care home or center to become properly licensed, the facility must first be inspected by DCFS representatives. Once the DCFS decide that the facility meets the minimum requirements, the day care center or home can start providing child care services on a daily basis. Their license will indicate the number of children allowed in the facility and the places where the children may receive care.

Day care centers and home owners have a valid working license for three years, but DCFS licensing staff will make annual check ups to make sure that the facility keeps the necessary standards.

Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies

Residents of all Illinois communities can enjoy child care resources and referral services which are provided by child care resources and referral agencies. These agencies provide the IL residents with  the following services:

  • They offer an online child care search.
  • They assist families with low incomes with covering the costs of care for children.
  • They provide references for other programs and services of child care.
  • They give resources and information to parents about caring for children.

ExceleRate Illinois

ExceleRate Illinois is a voluntary rating and improvement system developed by the state for helping early learning and  creating development programs. The main goal of these programs is the overall development of the child, through establishing close connections with the parents. This ExceleRate – parent partnership relies on mutual trust and information exchange, thus enhancing the child’s learning potential, enabling it to become very successful in school and later in life.

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

Not all families in Illinois are able to provide day care for their children, mainly due to financial reasons. That is why the Illinois Department of Human Services together with the local Recourse and Referring Agencies work hand in hand with low-income families and help them find the appropriate affordable child care, through the Child Care Assistance Program. This program gives working financially challenged families get the much needed child care without leaving work for a reasonable price calculated on the basis of family size, income, and number of children in care.

As of right now, the CCAP is only accepting applicants who meet one of the qualifications below:

  • You receive TANF.
  • You have special-needs kids.
  • You are a teen parent who is a full-time student studying to obtain a GED or high school diploma.
  • Your family works but their income is not more than half of the federal poverty level for the number of people in the household.