05.02.03 - License Exempt Center Certification

Effective Date:  07/01/08; 07/01/15, 07/01/17, 09/12/17
Reference: 89 Ill. Adm. Code, Chapter IV, §50.420 (b),225 ILCS 10/2.0; Public Act 099-0699; 89 Ill. Adm. Code 377; 05.01.03 CCAP Provider Health and Safety Standards Requirements; 05.03.01 Provider Background Checks; 05.05.01 CCAP Provider Health, Safety, and Child Development Training Requirements; 45 CFR Subpart D, §98.41 Health and safety requirements.

Policy Statement:

License Exempt Center Certification

  1. A child care center not licensed by the State of Illinois has the burden of demonstrating that it meets the criteria for the exemption that it claims (see 89 Ill. Adm. Code 377) and must certify that its facility or program is exempt from licensure, including requesting exemption verification from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
  2. A center operating or planning to operate a child care program or facility believed to be not subject to licensure, must submit a formal CCAP Exemption Packet to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that includes submitting copies of printed material that support and verify the information for the exemption category claimed.
    1. A separate CCAP Exemption Packet must be completed for each location or site address.
  3. License exempt Centers obtaining written Confirmation of exemption must comply with all applicable Department of Human Services CCAP Background Checks, and Health, Safety, and Child Development requirements.
  4. Section VIII below identifies and describes the 10 exemption categories that a center can be determined exempt from licensing standards. Centers seeking exemption should identify the exemption that best describes their program and the type of documentation that must be submitted for review by the Department of Children and Family Services.
  5. Programs that are denied exemption by the Department of Children and Family Services must become licensed through DCFS in order to serve CCAP children. 


This policy applies to all license exempt day care centers.


  1. Effective immediately all license-exempt centers serving CCAP children must submit written verification of exemption from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that confirms and describes the center's compliance with the standards for the health, safety, and development of children. The DCFS written confirmation of exemption is valid for two years.
    1. All centers claiming an exemption must submit Form CFS 672-6 License Exempt Request for School-aged Child Care Programs Seeking Child Care Assistance (CCAP) Approval to DCFS to obtain written confirmation of exemption.This form is applicable to ALL License Exempt Centers.
      The Department of Children and Family Services will determine and describe the extent to which the center meets the standards of the exemption category claimed in its written verification.
    2. License exempt centers that were granted an exemption based on the previous Self-Certification Policies must submit the new CFS 672-6 along with requested documentation - together referred to as an Exemption Packet, by January 1, 2018. Programs may continue to operate as approved through 12/31/2017, or until the confirmation from DCFS is received. Form CFS-672-6 includes: 
      1. Application Section
      2. Instructions
      3. Checklist of Requirements/Documents to be Submitted for DCFS Licensing Supervisory Review
      4. Licensing Office Contact List
  2. Exempt Categories Requiring Current and Continued Accreditation
    1. Programs determined exempt by DCFS and issued an exemption letter must still maintain any required accreditation while the exemption is in effect. Documentation of current accreditation must be submitted to IDHS CCAP and commensurate with the standards of the accrediting body (i.e. annual accreditation, or documentation of annual visit).
    2. A confirmed exempt program must notify the DCFS if operations cease, closes or loses accreditation.
  3. Background Checks
    1. As a condition of eligibility to receive a state subsidy for providing child care services to eligible families, all license exempt child care providers under the Child Care Act of 1969 [225 ILCS 10] 5] are subject to background checks in accordance with CCAP Policy 05.03.01.
    2. To be in compliance, license-exempt centers must ensure that all employees and volunteers whose duties require the employee or volunteer to be present during the hours children are present in the facility complete background checks. In addition, any person who is permitted to be alone with children receiving care in the facility is subject to the background check requirement. This applies to all current and conditional employees or volunteers as well as any individual used as replacement or supplemental staff in the direct care and supervision of children.
    3. License-exempt centers must maintain verification of background check compliance and have them available for review by DHS CCAP or any of their representatives immediately upon request, which may be made during an onsite monitoring review or at any other time in written or printed format.
  4.  Health and Safety Standards Requirements
    1. All legally License-exempt providers must comply with CCAP Provider Health and Safety Standards Requirements defined in Policy 05.01.03; including, Health, Safety and Child Development trainings described in Policy 05.05.01, in order to maintain status as a qualified CCAP provider.
  5. Annual Inspection of Health and Safety Compliance
    1. License-exempt Centers must agree to a formal annual inspection of health and safety compliance with the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Health and Safety Standards.
    2. Compliance with these requirements does not exempt a child care provider from complying with stricter health and safety standards under state law, local ordinance, or other applicable laws.
  6. Applications, Redeterminations, or Change of Provider Forms
    1. If parent submits an Application, Redetermination, or Change of Provider Form that indicates their child attends a license exempt day care center, verify the provider status in CCMS. In the Provider Notes Section - Document the Exemption Category and the Date of the most recent DCFS Letter of Confirmation of Exemption. The signed letter must be included in CCMS Documents.
    2. If the provider does not have a current Letter of Confirmation of Exemption from the Department of Children and Family Services on file, take the following steps:
      1. For a new provider without required documentation, send a Request for Additional Information (RAI) Form IL444-4480 and reference Form CFS 672-6 and an Exemption Packet referenced in section I above.
      2. Send a copy of the RAI to the parent.
      3. Case note the date the request was sent to the provider.
      4. Do not approve the center until it returns the confirmation of exemption letter and all other requirements have been met.
      5. If the provider does not submit written verification:
        1. Issue a denial to the parent and provider using reason code #11, and 2.
        2. Send the parent a Request for Provider Change Form IL444-3455G
    3. Upon receipt of the confirmation of exemption letter and other required documentation update CCMS provider notes as follows: Note the eligible exemption category that corresponds with the exemption described, and the effective date of confirmation: mm/dd/yy.
    4. If the provider submits written verification with an ineligible exemption, (no longer funded through CCAP), or a denial of exemption letter from the Department of Children and Family Services:
      1. Issue a denial to the parent and provider using reason code #11, and
      2. Send the parent a Request for Provider Change Form IL444-3455G
      3. Change the provider status in CCMS to "Denied"
      4. Process provider close outs on all active cases for the provider. Closeouts must be issued within 10 calendar day's notice.
  7. Notification 
    1. DCFS will notify providers submitting complete Exemption Packets (Form CFS 672-6, and appropriate documentation) within 15 business  days of receipt.
      1. Issuance of Confirmation of Exemption Letter
      2. Issuance of Denial of Exemption Letter
    2. DCFS will return incomplete Exemption Packets (whether partially, or incorrectly completed Form CFS 672-6 or missing documentation), within 3 business days of receipt.
  8. Exemption Categories (Please read carefully)
    Exemption categories must be in accordance with those defined by the Child Care Act of 1969 (225 ILCS 10/2.09), Public Act 099-0699, and Administrative Rule Part 377 Facilities and Programs Exempt from Licensure.



Full Definition Abbreviated Description

As defined in Illinois Statutes programs operated by:

(i) Public or private elementary school systems or secondary level school units or institutions of higher learning that serve children who shall have attained the age of 3 years, or

(ii) Private entities on the grounds of public or private elementary or secondary schools and that serve children who have attained the age of 3 years, except that this exception applies only to the facility and not to the private entities' personnel operating the program;

(i) Schools or College Lab Programs

(ii) Partially Exempt Programs

(b) Programs or that portion of the program which serves children who shall have attained the age of 3 years and which are recognized by the State Board of Education; Illinois State Board of Education Recognized Schools
(c) Educational program or programs serving children who shall have attained the age of 3 years and which are operated by a school which is registered with the State Board of Education and which is recognized or accredited by a recognized national or multistate educational organization or association which regularly recognizes or accredits schools; Other Schools
(d) Programs which exclusively serve or that portion of the program which serves handicapped children who shall have attained the age of 3 years but are less than 21 years of age and which are registered and approved as meeting standards of the State Board of Education and applicable fire marshal standards; Special Education Programs
(e) Facilities operated in connection with a shopping center or service, religious services, or other similar facility, where transient children are cared for temporarily while parents or custodians of the children are occupied on the premises and readily available;
Drop in Services
(f) Any type of day care center that is conducted on federal government premises; Federal Property
(g) Special activities programs, including athletics, crafts instruction and similar activities conducted on an organized and periodic basis by civic, charitable and governmental organizations; Special Activities
(h) Part day child care facilities; Part Day Facilities

Programs or that portion of the program which:

(1) Serves children who shall have attained the age of 3 years,

(2) Is operated by churches or religious institutions as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the federal
 Internal Revenue Code,

(3) Receives no governmental aid,

(4) Is operated as a component of a religious, nonprofit elementary school,

(5) Operates primarily to provide religious education, and

(6) Meets appropriate State or local health and fire safety standards;

Religious Education Programs
(j) Programs or portions of programs that:

(1) Serve only school-age children and youth (defined as full-time) kindergarten children, as defined in 89 Ill. Adm. Code 407.45,or older),

(2) Are organized to promote childhood learning, child and youth development, educational or recreational activities, or character-building,

(3) Operate primarily during out-of-school time or at times when school is not normally in session,

(4) Comply with the standards of the Illinois Department of Public Health (77 Ill. Adm. Code 750) or the local health department, the Illinois State Fire Marshal (41 Ill. Adm. Code 100), and the following additional health and safety requirements:

  • Procedures for employee and volunteer emergency preparedness and practice drills;
  • Procedures to ensure that first aid kits are maintained and ready to use;
  • The placement of a minimum level of liability insurance as determined by the Department;
  • Procedures for the availability of a working telephone that is onsite and accessible at all times;
  • Procedures to ensure that emergency phone numbers are posted onsite; and
  • A restriction on handgun or weapon possession onsite, except if possessed by a peace officer,

(5) Perform and maintain authorization and results of criminal history checks through the Illinois State Police and FBI and checks of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, the National Sex Offender Registry, and Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System for employees and volunteers who work directly with children,

(6) Make hiring decisions in accordance with the prohibitions against barrier crimes as specified in Section 4.2 of this Actor in Section 21B-80 of the School Code,

(7) Provide parents with written disclosure that the operations of the program are not regulated by licensing requirements, and

(8) Obtain and maintain records showing the first and last name and date of birth of the child, name and address , and telephone number of each parent, emergency contact information and written authorization for medical care

School-Age Only Programs
  1. Access to Forms:
    1. For a printable PDF version of Form 672-6 License Exemption Request for School-aged Child Care Programs Seeking Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Approval. Click here (pdf).
    2. Form 672-6 and further instructions will soon be available on the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services website.  The DHS website will be updated with the link as soon as it becomes available.