Increasing the quality of early childhood programs is a top priority in Illinois. Below you will find information on various scholarship programs, professional development opportunities as well as other resources to support quality enhancements.
The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge is a joint initiative of the federal Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services aimed at driving the quality of early childhood systems by enhancing cross system collaboration and targeting support to high need children.
Statewide professional development support system designed to provide guidance, encouragement, and recognition to individuals and programs serving children, youth, and families.
The Gateways to Opportunity Registry is a web based tool for early learning and other youth practitioners and programs to drive quality and accountability by allowing for easy monitoring of individual professional attainments and trainings.
Scholarships are available to assist students in early childhood programs of study.
PDAC is an advisory body which makes recommendations on improving the stability of the early care and education workforce through increased professional development and improved opportunities for career advancement.
In addition to enabling parents to identify child care programs which best meet their needs, Quality Counts assists early childhood programs improve the quality of their services through assessment and the development of improvement plans.
Mini grants are awarded to child care providers annually through local child care resource and referral (CCRR's) agencies to support quality improvements.
Become a licensed child care provider
Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers
Licensing Standards for Day Care Homes
DCFS Day Care Information Hotline: 877-746-0829
IDHS Child Care Telephone Billing System for Providers: The IDHS Child Care Telephone Billing system is an alternative to mailing the Child Care certificate to the local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency at the end of the each month.
The Telephone Billing system will help you get your payments quicker.
Child Care Payment Inquiries: Call (800) 804-3833
Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS)
The Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) assists Illinois child care programs in providing quality care for children and their families. A provider’s participation in QRS means they have gone the extra mile to help make sure children are receiving an enhanced learning and care experience. Quality care can help children succeed in school and in life. A QRS Award recognizes a provider for meeting specific indicators of quality. It is an accomplishment to be shared with families served and the community.
The Quality Counts QRS offers levels which providers can achieve depending on the type of care they provide. Specific quality criteria must be met to achieve a level. Once a child care provider has met the required criteria for a level, they are awarded a QRS certificate. All QRS Awards recognize achievement above State minimum standards. Providers caring for children eligible for the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) also receive a quality bonus above the standard payment rate.
Gateways to Opportunities Scholarship
INCCRRA Statewide Programs through local CCR&Rs
Early Childhood Block Grant Profession Development
Toolkit to prepare to become a Preschool For All Program
Apply to be a Preschool for All Program
Additional Resources from the Illinois State Board of Education