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Finding care for your child is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Obtaining quality child care can often take time and effort, and Community Child Care Connection strives to assist you in your search for the childcare that will best meet the needs of your family.

The Illinois Cares for Kids website offers an Online Child Care Search tool for families and it's a simple way to find a list of child care providers in your area.


If you have questions about the online search tool, or just want to speak to a Referral Specialist, please call our office at the number listed below.

Child Care Centers, which are most often licensed by the state and must meet minimal health, safety and staffing requirements. Children are grouped by age, and all staff who have contact with the children are subject to a background check for criminal activity.

                           Family Child Care Homes, which are provided for children in the home of the caregiver. In Illinois, family childcare providers who care for more than three children, including their own, are required to be licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).  (If the family childcare provider cares for 3 or fewer children, including their own, or the children are all from one family, the provider is not required to be licensed.)

Preschools, which offer group programs for primarily 3- to 5-year-old children for part of the day on specified days of the week. Most follow the school calendar and do not operate during school holidays, vacations, snow days or summer months. Head Start and Pre-K programs are federally or state funded.  These programs

offer preschool education to

children based upon the

developmental need of a

child or income status of the


School-age Programs,

which offer child care

before and after school, and for holidays, snow days, and summer vacation. These programs can be housed in child care centers, elementary schools, community centers, family child care homes, parks and playgrounds.

Community Child Care Connection encourages you to visit the childcare options you are considering and to ask about quality indicators such as:

1. Adult to Child Ratio: Ask how many children there are for each adult. Babies need an adult to child ratio of no more than 1:4 (one adult for four infants), while four-year-olds can do well with a ratio of 1:10 (one adult for 10 children).

2. Group Size: Find out how many children are in the group; a smaller group may provide a calmer and safer environment for the children.

3. Caregiver Qualifications: Ask about the caregivers’ training and education. Caregivers with degrees and/or special training in working with children will be better able to help your child learn.

4. Turnover: Check how long caregivers have been at the center or providing care in their homes. It’s best if children stay with the same caregiver for at least a year.

5. Program Quality: Find out if the childcare provider has an ExceleRate Illinois Circle of Quality or been accredited by a national organization. Providers who have earned a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Circle of Quality or that are accredited have met voluntary standards for quality child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the two largest organizations that accredit child care programs.

Excellerate Early Learning
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