ExceleRate Illinois is the quality rating and improvement system that gives early learning and development programs the framework to make continuous quality improvements and gain recognition for their quality achievements. It also provides standards, guidelines, best practices, benchmarks and resources that they need to support children effectively in quality settings.
ExceleRate is a comprehensive system that includes licensed childcare centers, Preschool
for All programs, Head Start programs, and licensed family child care homes (in 2015). It is administered through Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies under the joint direction of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education. To be eligible, DCFS-licensed childcare programs will need to be licensed for one year and have attended an ExceleRate Illinois orientation (other eligibility may be required). Please check
our training calendar for the next available ExceleRate orientation.
To learn more about this program and opportunities within it, visit the
ExceleRate Illinois website.
The Quality Rating System
Funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Quality Rating System (QRS) assists Illinois childcare programs in providing quality care for children and their families. This voluntary system is available to license-exempt family childcare providers.
The QRS offers progressive levels which providers can achieve depending on the type of care they provide. Specific quality criteria must be met to achieve a level. Once a childcare provider has met the required criteria for a level, they will be recognized for their achievement and will receive a quality add-on rate to the CCAP standard daily reimbursement rate for any approved CCAP children they are caring for.
Attendance at a QRS Orientation is required for any provider who applies to QRS. Please check our training calendar for training dates, times, and locations, or contact us for more information. To read more about the system or to receive an application, please contact the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies at 1.800.649.1884 or visit their website at
Quality Improvement Funds
The Quality Improvement Funds grant program is offered through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to offer continued quality improvement for childcare programs. Quality Improvement Funds are designed to assist childcare programs to improve program quality and achieve or advance an ExceleRate Illinois Circle of Quality.
The deadlines to apply for FY21 ExceleRate IL Cohorts are:
December 29, 2020 for Child Care Centers
December 29, 2020 for Licensed Family Child Care Homes
The deadline to apply for FY21 ExceleRate IL Training Stipends is: May 28, 2021.
To find out more about the opportunities available with this funding, please
download a copy of the FY 21 Quality Improvement Funds Guidelines and Application.
To download the required W9 form, please click