Illinois Cares for Kids
Illinois Cares for Kids is one place parents, grandparents, and caretakers can access all things related to early childhood education and care in Illinois. You can find resources, programs, and support for:
You can even search for child care and early learning programs near you!
Provider Resources & Tools
- An Overview of the DCFS Licensing Process
- Child Care Assistance Program Child Care Telephone Billing System Information
- CCAP Child Care Payment Information and Updates
- Early Childhood Block Grant: Prevention Initiative
- Early Childhood Block Grant: Preschool for All
- Early Childhood Block Grant: Preschool for All-Expansion
- ExceleRate Illinois Information for Providers
Supports to Help Meet Children's Diverse Needs
- How can I support children in my program who have special needs?
- How do I support students who are emergent bilingual?
Additional Provider Supports
- Erikson Institute's Town Square provides Family, Friend, and Neighbor care provider supports
- NAEYC provides social and emotional development supports
- Find resources on the recent Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion legislation here
- Find information on Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (I/ECMHC) here
- Visit iGrow to learn more about home visiting
- Learn more about professional development in the Pyramid Model
- Illinois Early Learning Project (IELP) Tip Sheets are easy-to-read, one-page resources on a variety of topics of interest to parents and teachers of young children
- Subscribe to the IELP monthly e-newsletter to keep up with the latest additions to the Illinois Early Learning website; the newsletter is now available in Spanish
- The Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map provides comprehensive early childhood data and maps to local and state stakeholders
Workforce & Professional Development Supports
Gateways to Opportunity is Illinois' early childhood education and care professional development system. It includes:
- Gateways Registry: The registry allows you to track your education, Credentials, and training online in your personal and secure Professional Development Record.
- Online Training: Gateways i-learning is the hub of online training for Illinois child care providers. You can locate online training for DCFS Licensing, ExceleRate Illinois, and other courses related to caring for children.
- Training Calendar: Search the Gateways Training Calendar for professional development events around the State.
- Gateways Credentials: These credentials are symbols of professional achievement that show your knowledge, skills, and experience in caring for and educating children.
The Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) delivers professional development to early interventionists serving children and families in the Illinois Early Intervention System. The mission of EITP is to develop a comprehensive system of personnel development that is regionalized, responsive, and reflective of best practices in the field of early intervention.
How to Get Involved
- Illinois Early Learning Council: A public-private partnership created by P.A. 93-380 to strengthen, coordinate, and expand programs and services for children, birth to five, throughout Illinois. Meetings are open to the public.
- Professional Development Advisory Council: A group of key stakeholders from a wide variety of child related industries who work to advance the field of early care and education, school-age, youth development, and family support. Meetings are open to the public.
- DCFS Child Day Care Licensing Advisory Council: This group provides input and suggestions on day care licensing rules and procedures, areas of focus and future planning, issues, concerns, and trends. Meetings are open to the public.
- Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention: This council provides advice and assistance as defined in the EI Services System Act. Meetings are open to the public, and interested individuals can nominate themselves for membership.
- Illinois Head Start Association
- Partner Plan Act: Resources on local Early Childhood Collaborations