Illinois Department of Human Services
Michelle R.B. Saddler, Secretary
Become familiar with IDHS Child Care Assistance Program policy concerning:
- CCAP Overview
- Provider Qualification
- Application Process
- Payment Process
- Parent Co-Payments
- Other Issues
Child Care Assistance Program
The Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program helps pay for child care expenses for income-eligible families who work or go to approved school or training.
There are two delivery systems:
- Certificate Program - managed by Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies, that provide payments for all types of legal child care providers; and
- Site Program - managed by Site Administered Child Care Centers that are paid directly through IDHS.
IDHS CCAP Family Eligibility Guidelines
- Parent/Guardians must be Illinois residents;
- Must meet the income guidelines of the program;
- Must be employed or enrolled and participating in an approved education or training program or involved in a TANF-approved activity or a combination of any of the above;
- Child must be under the age of 13 years (unless special needs can be documented to continue the care beyond the age of 13 years.)
Family Eligibility Determination
Eligibility can only be determined by the CCR&R or contract Site Administered child care centers.
The provider must decide if they will provide care before the case is approved and how or if to charge the parent while eligibility is being determined.
Non-contracted child care providers cannot determine if a family is eligible for the assistance program.
Families and providers can get an estimate of the parent's share of the cost of care, known as the Parent Co-payment, by using the Child Care Assistance Program Eligibility Calculator.
Note: Only the CCR&R or Site Provider can calculate the Total Monthly Income that will be used for determining eligibility for the program.
Family Eligibility Guidelines
A more complete explanation of CCAP eligibility can be found in the IDHS Child Care Program Manual. Check it out!
Types of Legal Care Arrangements
- Licensed Day Care Center (760)
- Day Care Center Exempt from Licensing (761)
- Licensed Day Care Home (762)
- Licensed Group Day Care Home (763)
- Day Care Home Exempt from Licensing (764)
- Relative Exempt from Licensing (765) - care in the home of the provider
- Relative Exempt from Licensing (766) - care in the home of the child
- Relative Exempt from Licensing (767) - care in the home of the child
License Exempt Homes (764, 765, 766, and 767 types of care)
A provider who is not licensed, who provides care in their own home or in the home of the child, can care for no more than three (3) children, including the provider's own children, unless all of the children are from the same biological parent and the same household.
License Exempt Home Examples of Capacity
Providers can care for six children from one household.
Providers can care for two children from one household and one from a second household.
Providers cannot care for two children from one household and two from a second.
Providers cannot be a parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian of the child;
Providers cannot be a person living in the home who is a parent of the child's sibling or has a child in common with the applicant;
Provider cannot be a member of the parent's TANF unit;
Providers cannot have certain criminal convictions or be indicated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS).
Providers must be 18 or older.
License Exempt Homes
Providers caring for children in their own home are NOT eligible for child care for their own children.
Parents Employed by a Legal Care Provider
The need for an assistant is verified with a DCFS licensing representative.
All assistants must clear the Illinois State Police and Sex Offenders Registry Background Check and a CANTS check.
The provider must keep records of these checks.
Employment must be documented with pay records.
There must be a need for child care services.
Provider Registration for License Exempt Homes
License Exempt homes MUST provide clear copies of:
- Current Driver License (front and back); or a
- Current State ID; or a
- Current Military ID; or a
- Social Security Card.
License Exempt Centers
Child Care facilities and programs must meet certain conditions in order to qualify as exempt from licensure.
A child care center not licensed by the State of Illinois must certify its program is exempt from licensure by submitting a License Exempt Day Care Center Self-Certification form.
If a parent submits an application or redetermination that indicates their child attends a license exempt day care center, the CCR&R will verify the provider status in the IDHS system.
The center will need to complete a License Exempt Child Care Center Self-Certification form for another case in the past.
At the discretion of the Department of Human Services (DHS), the center may be asked to furnish a letter from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), that verifies the center's exempt status.
If the provider marks the 9th exemption on the form, the facility must attach written verification from the local DCFS licensing office.
When signing the child care application, the provider is agreeing that they will comply with certain requirements, including but not limited to:
- Physical Exam
- TB Skin Test
- No accessible, hazardous material, firearms, or ammunition
- First Aid Supplies
- No Corporal Punishment
- Developmentally appropriate play activities
- Children supervised at all times
- Maintain all records for five (5) years
- Make records available to IDHS
- No incorrect or fictitious SSN
Authorization for Background Check (ABC) Form
In order to be paid by the state, all providers must complete an Authorization for Background Check (ABC) form.
All persons age 13 years and older, in the provider's home where care is being given, may be subject to background checks.
If an ABC form is not submitted, or if the provider or any individuals in the home are indicated, a 10-day cancellation notice will be issued.
Sections 1, 2, and 4 MUST be completed by the provider.
CCR&R staff must verify that the provider has cleared the required checks.
If the required checks are not cleared, CCR&R staff must send instructions, an Authorization for Background Check form, and a screen print from the DCFS Fingerprint Database to the provider.
Providers must follow the instructions within the given timeframes in order to be approved to receive payments from the State.
If the provider and/or household member does not have a Social Security Number, or if an individual refuses to provide one, the background check process cannot be completed and the provider will be denied.
DCFS Background Check Unit
After the CCR&R forwards the form to DCFS, their Background Check Unit will:
- Perform a Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) check on the provider for indicated reports of abuse and/or neglect;
- Perform a check of the Illinois and National Sex Offender Registries;
- For non-relative providers and employees of a license exempt center, DCFS will confirm and compare whether a criminal conviction record sent by the State Police and/or FBI is listed as a bar for:
- Operating as a license exempt child care provider; or
- Employee in a license exempt child care facility;
- Record the result of PASSED or FAILED for each type of check on the ABC form; and
- Return the ABC form to the appropriate CCR&R with a PASS/FAIL indication for each relevant check.
DCFS will send written notice to the CCR&R indicating the name of individuals whose fingerprints are not legible or are otherwise impossible to check.
The CCR&R must contact the individual to request the need for a reprint.
The individual is required to present a copy of the DCFS notice to the fingerprint vendor for the re-fingerprinting to occur.
Challenges to CANTS Findings
Challenges to CANTS findings must be made in writing to the:
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
State Central Register
406 East Monroe, Station #10
Springfield, IL 62701
Challenges to Criminal History
Challenges to criminal history findings must be made in writing to the nearest Illinois State Policy or FBI office.
The state requires all providers to certify their social security or FEIN numbers through the W-9 form process.
Sign the W-9 form exactly the same as it is entered on the name line.
Review the form carefully before sending to the CCR&R. If the information is not legible or if all applicable boxes are not filled in, payment will be delayed.
Type of Business
Providers must indicated the type of business they are legally operating (sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, or other). Most home providers are sole proprietors unless they have formed a corporation or a legal partnership with another entity or person.
If "other" is selected, an explanation must be given.
The Application Process
Families seeking assistance must be complete a Child Care Application.
The Child Care Application (form 3455) is available at IDHS Family Community Resource Centers, Site Administered Child Care Centers, and/or the CCR&Rs.
You can also download the child care application from the IDHS website.
All applications must be signed by both the parent and the provider before it is submitted to the Site or sent to the CCR&R for processing.
Eligibility may begin up to seven days prior to the date the CCR&R or Site received the application, or on the date of the applicant's signature, whichever is later.
How Long Does the Application Process Take
The parent/guardian and provider will receive one of three forms within 45 days of the CCR&R or Site receiving the completed application and required documentation:
- A Denial; or
- An Approval; or
- A Request for Additional Information (RAI).
It is the applicant's responsibility to provide the CCR&R or Site with written documentation required to establish their initial or continued eligibility.
Providers may assist the parent in completing the application process, but the parent/guardian must communicate with the CCR&R regarding eligibility documentation.
Schedule and Rate-Application
The provider and parent must complete Section 4 (pages 8-9) of the application together.
The care schedule must be reasonably related to the parent's activity schedule.
The provider must enter the daily rate that will be charge for each child.
Legal Care Arrangements
Providers must complete and sign their portion of the application form and check the box that best describes the type of care they will be providing.
Providers that are licensed through DCFS must enter their license number, capacity, expiration date, and hours of operation.
Verification of Family Information
Information submitted by the parent/guardian on the application and supporting documentation is verified through various agency databases such as:
- Food Stamps
- Employment Security
- Department of Labor
- Social Security Administration
- Child Support Enforcement
If the family is approved, both the Parent and the Provider will receive a Notice of Approval which includes the:
- Child Care Case Number;
- Parent/Provider Information;
- Reason for Child Care;
- Eligibility Period;
- Parent Co-payment Amount;
- Name(s) of Eligible Child(ren);
- Number of Days Per Week (full, part-time, or school age care);
- Daily Rate Amount; and a
- Comment Area
Most cases have their eligibility reviewed for continued eligibility at least every six months. This is called a Redetermination.
Families must provide most of the same documentation as when they applied.
If the client does not send in the updated information, or is determined to be ineligible for the program, the client and provider will receive a Notice of Cancellation.
Grace Periods and Leaves
For Active CCAP Families:
- Job Search
- 30 days from loss of employment to look for a new job
- CCR&R or Site MUST be notified at the beginning of each search period
- Semester Breaks
- 30 days from the last day of the semester for college students who are eligible for the next semester.
- College Graduation
- 30 days from graduation for job search
- Medical Leave
- Six weeks per leave with proper documentation
- MUST be returning to the same job after the leave.
- Maternity Leave
- Six weeks per leave with proper documentation
- Starts on the date of delivery
- MUST be returning to the same job after the leave.
NOTE: The parent can request a Medical Leave for medical complications associated with the pregnancy prior to the delivery.
Only three (3) grace periods are allowed in a 12-month period.
The CCR&R or Site must be notified within ten (10) days of the change in order to be eligible for a grace period.
Monthly computer-generated billing forms will be sent each month from IDHS.
Enter the total number of days (full, part-time, or school age) of care provided for each child.
The provider is responsible for maintaining daily attendance records/sign-in sheets which can be requested by IDHS at any time within five (5) years. (It is important to keep these records to verify that care was provided for the days that were billed.)
Providers should never bill for days when a child was not in attendance or when a center or home was closed.
Centers must list the number of days open during the month on the certificate.
The CCR&R begins processing the certificates on the first working day of each month following the month of service.
The Illinois Comptroller's Office writes and mails the checks (warrants).
The payment process, from beginning to end, takes about three (3) weeks.
It can take 4 to 8 weeks to receive the first payment. (This is due to processing the W-9 form at the Illinois Office of the Comptroller.)
Having your name on your mailbox will help with delivery of your check.
Taxes are not deducted from child care payments. Providers will be sent an IRS form (1099-Misc.) for earned income of $600 or more for tax reporting purposes.
Center Certificate Reports Only
Be sure to read and follow the instructions of the Certificate Report.
Be sure to use the correct code for adjusted eligible days:
- Enter the code in the next to last column of the form.
- Enter the dates that the event occurred in the last column.
Total the number of attended days and the number of adjusted eligible days at the bottom of each page:
- Include the total of all eligible days being counted.
- If no adjustment was made to the number of eligible days, the pre-printed number of days should be added.
Home Billing Certificates Only
If care was provided for more than the approved number of days, an explanation must be given on the back of the certificate.
The home provider and parent/guardian must sign the certificate and return it to their local CCR&R office.
80% Attendance Rule
Do not count eligible days if a child did not attend any days of a type of care: full-time, part-time, school-age.
License Exempt homes are paid for days attended only.
80% Attendance Rule - Centers
- Add the eligible days for ALL IDHS funded children at a location on the certificate report.
- Add the attended days for ALL IDHS funded children at a location on the certificate report.
- Divide the attended days by the eligible days.
- If the percentage is 79.5% or higher, all children will be paid for the eligible days.
- If the percentage falls below 79.49%, each family will be paid for the attendance percentage.
80% Attendance Rule - Licensed Homes
- Add the eligible days for ALL children in an IDHS funded family.
- Add the attended days for ALL children in an IDHS funded family.
- Divide the attended days by the eligible days.
- If the percentage is 79.5% or higher, all children will be paid for the eligible days.
- If the percentage falls below 79.49%, all children will be paid for the number of days they attended.
Attendance Exemptions - Licensed Centers Only
Eligible days may be adjusted if more than 50% of enrolled children do not attend on a given day due to:
- Natural Disaster;
- Mechanical Breakdown;
- Snow Days;
- Epidemics; or
- Other Extraordinary Events
Contact IDHS at (217) 524-5832 within five (5) days of the event.
Complete and return an Attendance Exemption Request form with documentation to IDHS within 10 days of the event. Fax to (217) 557-4717.
Additional Child Care Costs
IDHS will not pay for the following fees:
- Time the parent did not give the provider notice that they would no longer be attending;
- Parent Co-payment
- Registration or Enrollment Fees
- Summer Camp Activity Fees
- Recreation Fees
- Field Trip Fees
- Activity Fees
- Late Fees
Child Care Daily Rates
Less than five hours = Part-Day Rate
Five through twelve hours = Full-Day Rate
Less than five hours for child in school = School-Age Rate
More than twelve hours = Contact the CCR&R for instructions
The maximum daily rates IDHS will pay for each type of provider are located on the IDHS website.
Providers are encouraged to accept the State rate for families using CCAP.
If a provider charges more than the State rate, the parent is responsible for the additional amount.
Providers cannot charge subsidized parents/guardians more than private pay families.
Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS)
QRS is a voluntary system available to providers who meet specific indicators of quality care. Providers who meet required criteria are awarded a QRS award certificate.
Providers caring for children eligible for CCAP will receive a quality add-on rate to help pay for the higher cost of providing quality care.
Provider Types Who Can Apply for the QRS
- License Exempt Family Care Homes.
- Licensed Family Child Care Homes and Group Homes
- Licensed Centers and Licensed School-Age Programs
- Licensed Homes and Centers must care for children full-day (8 or more consecutive hours) and operate a minimum of nine (9) months per year.
- Licensed School-Age program just care for children a minimum of nine (9) months per year.
- License Exempt Centers must become licensed to apply.
- The local CCR&R can provide information on licensing, as well as provide information on funds available to assist in meeting licensing standards.
How Does the QRS Work?
License Exempt Home providers can be approved for one of three tiers based on the number of hours of training they have received.
Exempt home providers that are serving children eligible for CCAP receive a quality add-on from 10%-20%, depending on the level of training they have taken.
Licensed providers can be awarded 1-4 star levels based on various criteria.
Those receiving CCAP payment receive a quality add-on from 5%-20% based on the number of stars they are awarded.
Each Tier/Level builds on the previous level.
Attending the QRS Orientation is required of any provider who applies to the QRS.
All providers need to attend required training prior to applying to the QRS.
There is currently no application fee for the QRS.
Check with your local CCR&R for QRS orientation schedules and to learn more.
See more about the QRS on the web at: http://www.inccrra.org
Check Payment Status
To determine the status of your payment, you can:
The provider TIN (SSN or FEIN) and the IVR case number are required.
These services are available 24/7 and provide information on the status of your current payment.
This information is updated once each day so there is no need to check more than once a day.
Telephone Billing System for Home Child Care Providers
You will need a special password in order to access the system. This password will be issued after you have submitted the Child Care Telephone Billing Agreement form sent at the time of your approval.
You must still complete the paper certificate and both the parent/guardian and provider must sign. Do not mail to the CCR&R unless told to do so by the system.
Keep the signed certificate for at least five (5) years.
If you have any problems with the billing system, contact your CCR&R.
Why Use the Telephone Billing System?
Using the Telephone Billing System is the best way because:
- The State's payment system receives the information faster;
- There are no mail delays in getting information to the CCR&R;
- The payment information may be entered seven days a week, 24 hours a day;
- The provider gets immediate confirmation that their payment has been entered; and
- Information is posted on the Payment Inquiry Line two days after entry.
Using Direct Deposit will get you your payment even faster.
For more information, visit the State Comptroller's website at: www.ioc.state.il.us or call them at (217) 557-0930.
To check on the status of your payment go to: http://www2.dhs.state.il.us/PPI/ppi.aspx .
Illinois Debit MasterCard Card
CCAP payments can be deposited onto the Illinois Debit MasterCard account by the Illinois Comptroller's Office.
Providers must complete an Illinois Debit MasterCard Payment Option form in order to receive payments on the debit card.
Download The Illinois Debit MasterCard Payment Option form.
Who Can Use the Debit Card?
CCAP Family Home Child Care Providers (Licensed and License Exempt) using their own name.
DBAs are only acceptable if the provider is using their own name for payment and their company name in the DBA line.
Benefits of the Illinois Debit Card
Payments are available faster, therefore, you can:
- Get cash faster
- Shop faster
- Receive notice by phone of payment
- Access toll-free customer service
- Receive monthly statements
- Access information in a safe and secure way
Debit Card Customer Service
Debit Card Customer Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact them by telephone at (866) 338-2944 or via website: www.eppicard.com to:
- Check Balance;
- Select or Change Personal Identification Number (PIN);
- Review History of Transactions;
- Ask questions about card use;
- Disagree with a transaction;
- Report lost, stolen, or damaged cards; or
- Get Notification of Deposits.
The Illinois Debit MasterCard is accepted at merchant and bank locations worldwide. Providers can use their card wherever the debit MasterCard acceptance mark is displayed.
(MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.)
Co-pay amounts are listed on the Approval and the Billing Certificate.
It is the responsibility of the provider and parent to decide if the fee should be collected monthly or weekly.
To determine the weekly amount, divide the monthly co-payment amount by 4.333.
Providers are required to collect the assessed co-payment amount.
In the interest of "Best Business Practices", have a contract signed by the parent listing fee payment information.
Co-payment collection methods are between the parent and the provider. The CCR&R does NOT play a role.
In the interest of "Best Business Practices", IDHS recommends that providers collect co-payments before service is provided.
Providers may follow fee collection policies they have for private pay families.
Co-Payments and Multiple Providers
Only one provider will be assigned the co-payment - check the approval letter and billing certificate.
The provider who collects that co-payment will have the assessed amount deducted from their payment.
The provider not collecting the co-payment will be paid the full amount by the State.
Co-Payments and Change of Providers
Families shall pay their monthly co-payment to the provider that is approved on the first day of the month.
Consequently, if a family changes providers any time after the first day of the month, the first provider shall collect the whole monthly co-payment.
If charges for care are less than the monthly co-payment, the provider shall collect the smaller of the two amounts.
The new provider will not collect a co-payment until the first of the following month.
Change of Information
The CCR&R must be notified within ten (10) days of any changes.
Provider Changes include:
- TIN (SSN/FEIN)
- Type of Care
- Ending Car
Parent Changes include:
- Family Size
- Marital Status
- Address Change
- Name Change
Provider Responsibilities Recap
- Complete and sign their portion of the application;
- Complete all forms required for provider certification (Background Check, W-9, etc.);
- Get fingerprinted within the given time when requested;
- Submit copies of ID and SSN card when requested;
- Maintain attendance and billing records for all children in their care;
- Notify the CCR&R of any pertinent changes in approved child care arrangements within ten (10) days;
- Be responsible for collecting the parent co-payment; and
- Report child care payment income to IDHS or CCR&R (if the provider receives IDHS benefits for themselves) and the IRS.
IDHS and its contractors may conduct investigations when improper payments may have occurred.
If you suspect a parent/guardian of committing intentional program violations, contact your CCR&R.
If a parent or provider causes an improper payment, IDHS will seek repayment of funds.
Information collected about the families and providers of the program will be used only for purposes directly related to the administration of the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program.
Taxes are not withheld from payments made to provider.
An IRS form (1090-Misc.) for earned income will be sent to all providers earning more than $600 - for use when filing tax returns.
CCR&Rs offer training on tax issues for child care providers.
An overpayment notice will be issued, with instructions for repayment, if it is determined that a parent/guardian or provider is responsible for repayment of an improper payment.
If a provider does not respond to overpayment notices, all payments for all IDHS families will be stopped until a repayment plan has been established.
If a parent/guardian has an issue about how a case has been managed, or about CCAP in general, they should first contact the local CCR&R.
If resolution cannot be reached at the CCR&R, contact the IDHS Child Care Complain unit at (217) 524-5832.
Parents/Guardians have a right to appeal unfavorable decisions made about their case.
Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the notice of the unfavorable decision.
Contact the CCR&R or IDHS to file the appeal at (800) 435-0774.
If the provider wants to file an appeal, the CCR&R will:
- Explain they can only appeal decisions about payments;
- Explain how the decision was made; and
- Send the provider an Illinois Court of Claims form (CC-28.2)
Please Note: Home providers have the option of contacting SEIU.
Other CCR&R Services
- Child Care Business Information, Newsletter, and Lending Library
- Quality Counts Van
- Training and Conference Opportunities
- Free Referral to Parents
- Quality Rating System (QRS)
- Infant/Toddler Child Care Specialist
- Licensing Information
- Gateways Scholarship Program
- Gateways to Opportunity Professional Development System
- Great START Wage Supplement Information
- Child Care Nurse Consultants
- Mental Health Consultants
View the IDHS Child Care Program Manual for detailed policy on these and other issues.
The "What is CCAP?" Handbook will also provide:
- Definition of Common Terms
- Provider Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
The CCAP Cycle
- The Parent/Guardian completes an Application;
- The CCR&R determines eligibility;
- IDHS Prints an Approval & Certificate and sends to the Provider;
- The Provider completes and submits the certificate to the CCR&R;
- The CCR&R enters the certificate;
- Comptroller's Office prints the check/warrant;
- It is sent to the Provider.
Thank you for all that YOU do for the children and families of Illinois.