Child Care

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The Illinois Department of Human Services partners with child care providers throughout Illinois to provide working families of low income with access to affordable, quality child care. IDHS also supports services for families looking for care including free referrals to child care providers and consumer education information. Click on any of the links below for more information.

Child Care

  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides low-income, working families with access to affordable, quality child care that allows them to continue working and contributes to the healthy, emotional and social development of the child. CCAP can help families pay for care in center-based or home settings. Families are required to cost-share on a sliding scale based on family size and income.
  • Migrant Head Start office provides child care and a comprehensive program of health, parent involvement, and social services for preschool children (under 6 years of age) of low-income migrant and seasonal farm workers. 
  • Head Start State Collaboration office is a federal-state partnership organized to support and encourage collaboration with Head Start and various other state and local stakeholders that serve low-income families with young children. 

Find Child Care

Looking for child care? Parents can receive free referrals and information about child care programs from their local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency or online at Referrals to all types of child care providers - licensed centers, family child care homes, and group child care homes as well as license exempt centers and homes are available. Information on quality of care, State licensing and the Illinois ExceleRate system are also available.

Licensed and License Exempt Child Care Arrangements

When a child care facility is licensed, it means that an Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (IDCFS) licensing representative has inspected the facility and it was found to meet the minimum licensing requirements set by IDCFS. A child care facility that is license exempt is one that is not licensed by IDCFS but must still meet minimum requirements set by Illinois in order to operate as a child care provider. The CCAP will only allow a license-exempt home to care for three children, including the provider's own children, during a day unless all of the children are from the same household. Below are the different types of Licensed and License Exempt Providers and the Standards/Procedures that they must meet.

Additional Information & Resources for Families

  • All Kids offers many Illinois children comprehensive healthcare that includes doctors' visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers.
  • Early Intervention - helps children ages 0 to 3, with disabilities or delays, to learn and grow.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs.
  • Medicaid is a health and long-term care coverage for low-income families.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program helps pregnant women and families with one or more dependent children with temporary cash and other benefits. TANF can help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a food assistance program for Women, Infants, and Children. It helps pregnant women, new mothers and young children eat well and stay healthy.

DHS Office Locator

DHS Help Line