State of Illinois

Department of Human Services

Vision for Child Care and Early Education in Illinois

Illinois families will have multiple options for affordable quality child care and early education. All children starting at birth will be offered opportunities to grow, learn and be cared for in safe, nurturing, culturally and developmentally appropriate settings.

INTRODUCTION

As required by State Statute 20 ILCS 505/5.15, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) submits an annual report to the Governor and Illinois General Assembly about the status of its child care program. The program is administered by the IDHS Bureau of Child Care and Development, and this report includes information on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) as well as the Quality Improvement Programs within CCAP. The 2015 Illinois Child Care Report includes information for the Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015). The data in this report are from: a) the Child Care Tracking System; b) the Child Care Management System (CCMS); c) the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies' aggregate database of the local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) parent customers, child care providers, and professional development activities; and d) the Gateways to Opportunity Registry. IDHS thanks the thousands of center- based staff, family child care providers, and CCR&R staff for their support in the care and education of Illinois children.

Fiscal Year 2015 Child Care Expenditures

Funding Source Amount Percentage
State GRF $492,257,057 42.15%
TANF $475,088,120 40.68%
CCDF $200,527,640 17.17%
Total $1,167,872,817 100.00%

Pie chart showing Child Care Expenditures by Funding Source 

Federal Priorities

The IDHS Bureau of Child Care and Development sets policy and develops programs consistent with the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Child Care's philosophy and the Bureau's Vision.

ACF's overall goal is "healthy, happy and successful children." Its philosophy includes a focus on the continuum of high quality care for children from birth to age 13; and partnerships across child care, education, Head Start and health for a broader delivery system that expands family choices.

This report is designed to show how Illinois addressed the federal theme of "Pathways and Partnerships for Child Care Excellence" in FY 2015, including the following components:

  • Pathways to Stronger Policies and Accountability within a child care system by: o Supporting child development
    • Removing access barriers for families o Improving processes for providers
  • Pathways to Excellence for Child Care Programs by:
    • Ensuring the health and safety of children in child care o Building Quality Rating and Improvement Systems
  • Pathways to Excellence for Child Care Professionals by:
    • Building strong professional development and supportive workforce initiatives.

"Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colours."

Loris Malaguzzi


CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

 The IDHS works with local Illinois communities to provide low-income families with access to affordable, quality childcare. The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) has two primary goals:

  • To support qualifying low-income families by providing child care subsidies. This allows parents to maintain employment or further their education, thereby decreasing dependence on public assistance; and
  • To allow families access to multiple options for affordable, quality child care, early education, and after school programs that offer children the opportunity to grow, learn and be cared for in safe, nurturing settings that are culturally and developmentally appropriate.

Fiscal Year 2015 CCAP Enrollment

CCAP served a total of 257,547 children from 149,100 families between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. The monthly average for FY2015 was 179,323 children from 92,700 families.

The Illinois CCAP is CHILD-FOCUSED

Profile of Children Participating in CCAP in March 2015

  • 64.9% of children were served in licensed care, compared to 54.7% in FY2008
  • Children under 1 year of age were in child care an average of 158 hours per month
  • School-age children (ages 6 and older) constitute 37.1% of all children served

Number of Children by Age Participating in CCAP March 2015

Child's Age Number Enrolled in CCAP % of Total
n 0 - 14 Months 11,303 6.30%
n 15 - 23 Months 12,515 6.90%
n 2 Years 17,712 9.80%
n 3 - 4 Years 35,845 19.80%
n 5 Years 36,290 20.10%
n 6 - 12 Years 66,217 36.60%
n 13 Years and over 912 0.50%
Total 180,794 100.00%

Number of children by age participating in CCAP March 2015

"At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents."

Jane D. Hull

The Illinois CCAP is FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Profile of families participating in the CCAP in March 2015

  • 91.9% of families received subsidies because of employment
  • 6.5% of families listed TANF as a source of income
  • The average number of children served per family was 1.7

CCR&R Services to All Illinois Families, not just those participating in CCAP

  • Referral to child care settings according to the family's preferences
  • Consumer education on legal and quality child care
  • Referral to CCAP, other IDHS programs, and community services
  • Toll-free number, in English and Spanish, that connects parents and child care providers to local CCR&Rs

Annual Income Guidelines by Family Size

Annual Income Guidelines by Family Size

FY Family size - 2 Family size - 3 Family size - 4 Family size - 5 Family size - 6 Family size - 7 Family size - 8
FY11, Apr1 $26,964 $33,872 $40,850 $47,712 $54,636 $61,560 $68,472
FY12, Jul 1 $27,216 $34,284 $41,352 $48,420 $55,488 $62,556 $69,624
FY13, Jul 1 $27,996 $35,328 $42,648 $49,980 $57,300 $64,632 $71,952
FY14, Jul 1 $28,704 $36,132 $43,572 $51,012 $58,452 $65,880 $73,320
FY15, Jul 1 $29,112 $36,612 $44,124 $51,636 $59,148 $66,660 $74,172

Number of CCAP Families by Monthly Co-Payment Amount

Co-Pay Amount for Child Care

"A picture book is a small door to the enormous world of the visual arts, and they're often the first art a young person sees."

Tomie dePaola

The Illinois CCAP is FAIR TO PROVIDERS

Profile of Child Care Providers Participating in CCAP in Fiscal Year 2015

  • 69.4% of the license-exempt family child care providers cared for relatives
  • 76% of the licensed family child care providers and 69% of the licensed child care centers in the Illinois Statewide Provider Database will accept CCAP children

CCR&R Services for Child Care Providers Participating in CCAP

  • Administration of parent applications
  • Processing of Monthly Child Care Certificates
  • Technical Assistance to parents and providers regarding CCAP

Number of Providers Receiving CCAP Payments in FY2015

Licensed Providers Number of Providers
Child Care Centers 2,754
Family Child Care Homes 5,782
Group Child Care Homes 411
Total 8,947
License-Exempt Providers Number of Providers
Child Care Centers 740
Family Child Care Homes:
Non-relative in provider's home 13,217
Relative in provider's home 32,011
Non-relative in child's home 9,325
Relative in child's home 20,951
Total 76,244

Child Care Supply

The CCR&Rs support child care providers by referring families to their child care programs. The referral services are available free of charge to licensed centers, family child care homes and group child care homes listed in the provider database. License-exempt centers and homes may choose to be included on the provider database. The Fiscal Year 2015 provider database information is shown in the table below.

Fiscal Year 2015 Statewide Child Care Database

Type of Care Number of Providers Child Capacity
Licensed Family Child Care Homes 8,920 84,735
License-Exempt Family Child Care Homes 457 1,323
Total 9,377 86,058
Type of Care Number of Providers Child Capacity
Licensed Child Care Centers 3,219 248,439
License-Exempt Child Care Centers 2,439 168,142
Total 5,658 416,581

"There are many women with children under five who want to work and who lack affordable, high-quality child care."

Harriet Harman

Child Care Demand

There are two dimensions of the "demand" for child care in any community.

  1.  The number of children needing child care compared to the child care capacity available to meet the needs, and
  2. The unique requirements of families for their specific child care needs, such as the child's age, type of care desired, parent's work/school schedule, location, special needs of the child and cost.

Snapshot of Families Receiving Child Care Referrals in FY2015

  • 25,990 families receiving child care referrals by phone or online
  • 88% of families required care due to employment
  • 10,786 families used the online referral system

Schedules Requested for Children and Offered by Providers

Schedule Requested for Children Offered by Family Child Care Homes Offered by Child Care Centers Offered by Providers Total
Standard Hours* 18,706 8,252 2,929 11,181
Evening 3,344 4,341 151 4,492
Weekend 2,881 1,460 54 1,514
Overnight 1,091 3,097 59 3,156
Rotating 1,178 3,589 877 4,466
Temp/Emergency 381 4,256 849 5,105
Drop In 358 3,997 905 4,902

*A standard schedule is full-time care offered during traditional day time work hours.

Number of Children for Whom Child Care was Requested by Age and Type of Care

pie chart with number of child care requests by age and type
Requests by Age of Child Number of Requests Percentage of Requests
Infants & Toddlers 7,071 31.60%
2 Year Old Children 2,947 13.20%
3-4 Year Old Children 5,140 22.90%
5 Year Olds/Kindergarteners 2,137 9.50%
School Age Children 5,113 22.80%
Total 22,408 100%
Requests by Type of Care Number of Requests Percentage of Requests
Child Care Center 24,705 59.50%
Family Child Care Home 16,743 40.30%
In-Home Care 50 0.20%
Total 41,498 100%

Note: 

DATA CONTEXT for the above

Much of the data contained on pages 9 and 11 are from the parent, customer and child care databases compiled by the local CCR&Rs. Therefore, the data presented does not include all families and children requiring child care services in Illinois. Most families do not receive child care assistance and many families find child care services through friends, families, advertisements and other means. Additionally, many license-exempt child care programs are not listed on the provider database. Because of these factors, it is important to note that this report is only one means of examining the larger child care supply and demand picture in Illinois

"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning."

Mr. Rogers

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS

The federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) requires at least four percent of federal funds be allocated for the improvement of child care quality. These funds are used to support the IDHS Bureau of Child Care and Development's Quality Improvement Program, the overall goal of which is to increase the quality of child care available to all Illinois families. This goal is addressed with a multi-faceted, systematic approach that works to meet the individual needs of children, families, child care providers and communities. In Fiscal Year 2015, IDHS contracted with 16 local CCR&R agencies, the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) and four quality discretionary grantees to implement the quality services described on the following pages.

Pathways to Excellence for Child Care Programs

Building Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

One of the significant ways states can assist child care providers with quality improvement is to develop a Quality Rating and Improvement System. IDHS has administered the Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QC-QRS) since 2007 in order to assist Illinois child care programs in providing quality care for children and their families. Illinois is completing the process of transitioning from QC-QRS and implementing the new, more comprehensive ExceleRate IllinoisTM (ExceleRate) quality rating and improvement system. Illinois is one of only a handful of states that has implemented a quality improvement program for License-Exempt Family Child Care providers (LEFCC). LEFCC providers have the opportunity to participate by completing Training Tiers consisting of 16 - 3 hour modules. The Training Tiers are described below:

  • Training Tier 1 modules are: Overview of Child Development; Health Issues for Group Care; Nutrition Issues for Group Care; and Safety Issues for Group Care.
  • Training Tier 2 modules are: Observation and Guidance; Learning Happens in Relationships; Family & Community Relationships; and Personal & Professional Development.
  • Training Tier 3 modules are: Child Growth and Development for Birth to 8 Months; Child Growth and Development or 8 - 18 Months; Child Growth and Development for 18 - 36 Months; Preschool Child - Social/Emotional Development; Preschool Child - Physical Development; Preschool Child - Language Development; Preschool Child - Cognitive Development; and School Age Development.

QRS Training Tier Levels for License-Exempt Family Child Care Homes in FY2015

Training Tier License-Exempt Family Child Care Homes Number of CCAP Children Enrolled by Training Tier Level
Tier 1 306 562
Tier 2 123 242
Tier 3 222 489
Total 651 1,293
Additional (non-CCAP) children cared for by these providers 522
Total number of children cared for by QRS certified license-exempt family child care homes 1,815

"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world."

Marie Montessori

Illinois has implemented a more comprehensive, cross-sector quality rating and improvement system, ExceleRate Illinois TM, which is designed to make continuous quality improvement an everyday priority among early learning providers, including licensed child care centers and family child care homes; Head Start and state Preschool for All (PFA) programs. The system establishes standards to help infants, toddlers and preschool age children intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. It recognizes early learning providers for their ongoing efforts to improve the quality of their care by awarding Circle of Quality designations:

  • Licensed Circle of Quality: a program meets state licensing standards, the foundation for quality; this includes 2,093 child care centers
  • Bronze Circle of Quality: a program's teachers and administrators have completed ExceleRate trainings, and have met staff qualifications
  • Silver Circle of Quality: a program meets, or goes beyond, quality standards in three areas: learning environment and teaching quality; administrative standards; and training and education
  • Gold Circle of Quality: a program meets, or goes beyond, the highest quality standards in the three areas listed for the Silver Circle

ExceleRate implementation for licensed centers was started in FY2014 and completed in FY2015. The following table (pg. 15) shows FY2015 data for licensed centers and the Circles of Quality.

Circles of Quality for Licensed Centers in FY2015

Licensed Centers Number of CCAP Children Enrolled
Bronze Circle of Quality 7 261
Silver Circle of Quality 353 35,265
Gold Circle of Quality 470 21,275
Total 830 56,801
Additional (non-CCAP) children cared for by ExceleRate certified Licensed Centers 53,102*
Total number of children cared for by ExceleRate certified Licensed Centers 109,903*

In FY2015, ExceleRate IllinoisTM (ExceleRate) was implemented for licensed family child care homes. The family child care homes (FCCH) ) prior to ExceleRate, participated in the Quality Counts Program. For Quality Counts, family home providers achieved "star" levels of certification:

  • Star Level 1: an FCC provider would have an Environment Rating Scale (ERS) rating of 3.0; receive an information packet on Professional Development and program resources, and developmental screening information; and the provider and any assistants would meet licensing standards for provider qualifications.
  • Star Level 2: an FCC provider would have an ERS rating of 3.5; receive information on the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) accreditation and the Business Administration Scale (BAS); and receive 25 clock hours of training annually.
  • Star Level 3: an FCC provider would have a current NAFCC accreditation in good standing OR an ERS rating of 4.25, a BAS rating of 4.25, and 30 clock hours of training annually.
  • Star Level 4: an FCC provider would have an NAFCC accreditation in good standing AND an ERS Rating of 5.1 and a BAS rating of 5.0; have education at Great START* Level 1 or above; AND all staff have current CPR and First Aid certification.

*Great START is the IL wage supplement program. The educational requirements are higher than DCFS Licensing Standards for each position on the scale.

"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read ."

Marilyn Jager Adams

Programs that had received Quality Counts QRS Star Levels 1-3 certification were provisionally placed in the ExceleRate Silver Circle of Quality, and those with a Star Level 4 certification were provisionally placed in the Gold Circle of Quality. The data below are from the Quality Counts QRS because the transitioning process continued into FY2016. FCCH ExceleRate data will be reported in the FY2016 Illinois Child Care Report.

Star Levels for Licensed Family Child Care Homes in FY2015

Licensed Family Child Care Homes Number of CCAP Children Enrolled
Star Level 1 25 160
Star Level 2 49 377
Star Level 3 219 1,991
Star Level 4 11 59
Total 304 2,587
Additional (non-CCAP) children cared for by ExceleRate provisionally-certified Licensed Family Child Care Homes 983
Total number of children cared for by ExceleRate provisionally- certified Licensed Family Child Care Homes 3,570

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT FUNDS

In FY2015, the Quality Improvement (QI) Funds program was implemented. QI Funds assist and support child care centers and family child care homes to work towards, maintain or advance an ExceleRate Circle of Quality. Funds are available through the CCR&Rs. Child care programs can apply for funds in three areas:

  • ExceleRate Cohorts are learning cohorts that combine training and program self-assessment, resulting in a quality improvement plan. Funds are available for equipment and resources identified as needed through the cohort process.
  • ExceleRate Training Stipends are available to programs when staff complete required ExceleRate trainings.
  • Accreditation assistance is available to assist child care programs in paying the fees of national accreditations aligned with ExceleRate.

"Teacher preparation (both pre-service and in-service) significantly predicts program quality. Higher program quality is linked to more positive child outcomes, especially in terms of language and representational skills-both critical for school success."

Joyce L. Epstein

Pathways to Excellence for Child Care Providers

Building Strong Professional Development and Supportive Workforce Initiatives

Responsive, well-qualified practitioners are one of the most important factors in child care settings. Children of working parents spend many hours each day with their child care provider. IDHS provides professional development opportunities to child care providers. These services are available to child care providers listed on the statewide database, including licensed and license-exempt practitioners. The following pages give some data on these programs for FY2015.

Training Activities

ExceleRate Illinois Training for FY2015 FY2015
Number of Approved topics offered 17
Total # of times Approved topics were offered 756
Total # of training session held* 920
Number of participants 15,396
Number of training hours achieved 72,067
*Some of the ExceleRate Illinois-approved topics are multi-session trainings
Illinois Training Network (ITN) Training for FY2015 FY2015
Number of ITN curricula offered in FY 4
Total # of times ITN curricula were offered 636
Total # of training session held* 920
Number of participants 15,396
Number of training hours achieved 72,067
*Some of the ITN Curricula are multi-session trainings
CCR&R Training for FY2015 FY2015
Number of training sessions held 1,629
Number of training participants 24,890
Number of training hours acheived 65,053
Online Training for FY2015 FY2015
Number of online training topics offered 57
Number of training participants 55,547
Number of online training hours acheived 123,225

Gateways to Opportunity Professional Development System

The Gateways to Opportunity Professional Development System provides supports for professional working with children, youth and families. These supports include Credentials; the Gateways Scholarship Program; the Great START Wage Supplement program; Professional Development Advisors; and the Gateways to Opportunity Registry.

Great START (Strategy to Attract and Retain Teachers)

Great START is a wage supplement program available to the lowest wage earners employed by licensed child care centers and family child care homes; it recognizes those who have achieved an educational level higher than is required by DCFS Licensing Standards and recipients must remain employed by the same program.

Great START (Strategy to Attract and Retain Teachers) FY2013* FY2014* FY2015
New Recipients 258 725 551
Renewing Recipients 3,762 3,054 3,181
Total 4,020 3,779 3,732
*Data reported in the FY2013 and FY2014 Illinois Child Care Reports were in error. The corrected data are presented in this report.

"When family child care providers obtain training, researchers found children were more securely attached to their caregivers and more engaged in activities."

Ellen Galinsky, Carollee Howes & Susan Kontos

Gateways to Opportunity Credentials

The Gateways Credentials validate an individual's educational attainment and professional experience. The credentials are recognized by the State of Illinois in the DCFS Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers and the IDHS Great START program. ExceleRate IllinoisTM (ExceleRate) has credential requirements for the Bronze, Silver and Gold Circles of Quality. A variety of credentials are available for practitioners who work with, or on behalf of, children, youth and families.

The first Illinois Director Credentials (IDC) were awarded in FY2000. Since then, additional Gateways Credentials have been developed and are awarded on a continual basis. The IDC is appropriate for directors and program coordinators of early childhood and school-age child care settings. It is awarded at three (3) levels: Associate, Bachelor, and Graduate. The credential has requirements in: General Education; Education specific to Early Childhood Education/Child Development; Education specific to Management and Administration; Work Experience and Professional Contributions to the field.

The first Illinois Director Credentials (IDC) were awarded in FY2000. Since then, additional Gateways Credentials have been developed and are awarded on a continual basis. The IDC is appropriate for directors and program coordinators of early childhood and school-age child care settings. It is awarded at three (3) levels: Associate, Bachelor, and Graduate. The credential has requirements in: General Education; Education specific to Early Childhood Education/Child Development; Education specific to Management and Administration; Work Experience and Professional Contributions to the field.

The ECE Credential is appropriate for professionals working in early childhood settings. It is awarded at six (6) levels ranging from Level 1 (an entry level credential earned by completing a 48 clock-hour training) to Level 6, which is the Graduate Level Credential. ECE Credential Levels 2-6 have requirements in General Education, Early Childhood Education, Work/Practicum Experience and Professional Contributions for the field. The Infant Toddler Credential (ITC) is a specialization for the ECE Credential and is appropriate for professionals working with children younger than three years. It is awarded at five levels from Level 2 (12 ECE credits and 3 Infant Toddler credits) to Level 6 (Graduate Degree). Levels 2-6 have requirements in General Education, Early Childhood Education specific to Infants/Toddlers, Work/Practicum Experience specific to Infants/Toddlers, and Professional Contributions specific to Infants/Toddlers.

The School-Age/Youth Development (SAYD) Credential Level 1 is an entry level 48 clock-hour training covering many topics related to leading programs for this age group (8 - 18 years of age), including but not limited to human development; health and safety; program development; community relations; communication with parents, etc. Additional levels of the SAYD Credential are under development.

Credential First Awarded in FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 Total Awarded
ECE Credential - Level 1 FY2006 387 1,155 1,773 4,753
ECE Credential - Level 2-6 FY2008 111 518 3,238 4,184
Infant Toddler Credential FY2009 97 345 1,218 1,875
Illinois Director Credential FY2000 46 126 495 1,198
SAYD Credential - Level 1 FY2011 14 115 50 209
Total 655 2,259** 6,774** 12,219
*Includes credentials awarded prior to FY2013. **Increase in credential attainment in FY2014 and FY2015 can be attributed to the availability of Race to the Top/Early Learning Challenge funds and credential requirements in ExceleRate.

"Treat a child as though he already is the person he's capable of becoming."

Dr. Haim G. Ginott

Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program

The Gateways Scholarship Program (CCDF-funded) is available to individuals employed by licensed child care centers and family child care homes. FY2013 data includes scholarships funded by the IDHS/ARRA grant. The scholarships enable practitioners to earn degrees, certificates or credentials in early care and education and school age child care.

Gateway to Opportunity Scholarship Program FY2013* FY2014 FY2015
Family Child Care Practitioners 200 165 148
Child Care Center Staff 734 675 722
Credits Taken 6,904 6,894 7,226
Degrees Completed 35 36 25
*FY2013 data includes scholarships funded by the IDHS/ARRA grant.

Gateways to Opportunity Registry

The Gateways to Opportunity Registry is a resource and a tool to drive the quality and accountability of the professional development available to early learning, school-age and youth practitioners. Anyone who works with or on behalf of children, youth and families in Illinois can become a member of the Gateways Registry. The Gateways Registry is administered by INCCRRA. As of June 30, 2015, the Registry membership was 91,175, an increase of 22,552 members over FY2014. The size of the Registry membership is facilitated by two factors: (1) DCFS Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers, Family Day Care Homes, and Group Day Care Homes require all personnel who work with children to be Registry members; and (2) Registry membership is required of those practitioners working for child care programs seeking Bronze, Silver, or Gold Circles of Quality in ExceleRate.

TYPE OF PROGRAM & POSITION (Where Are Registry Members Working)

Based on valid employment data for 61,782 current Registry members:

  • 5% work in Indirect Service, such as child care resource and referral, higher education, etc.
  • 95% work in Direct Service.
    • 78% work in Licensed Child Care Centers
    • 19% work in Family/Group Child Care Homes o 3% work in License-exempt child care settings