Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions a family makes. You want your child in a safe, caring environment where your child will be engaged in learning. Learn more about quality indicators when choosing child care.
How Do I Start?
As part of a free statewide network with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), we can help you make an informed decision. Parents can call, visit our office, or use the online search option.
Phone or Walk-in Option
Our Parent Referral Specialist will gather information in order to find child care providers that best meet your family's needs. The Specialist will suggest questions to ask when you interview a provider, what to look for to determine the quality of the care provided, and the differences between family child care and a child care center. The Specialist will send you more information about quality child care and other resources you may find helpful.
All referrals are based on information we receive from the child care providers and should not be viewed as recommendations; we do not monitor the programs and we cannot ensure the quality of any program in our database. We encourage you to evaluate and screen each program, ask questions and make the decision that best meets the needs of your family. We also recommend that you visit at least three centers or homes so you have a good understanding of how each program compares for quality.
Online Child Care Search Option
You can also start your child care search online with the Child Care Resource Service’s Online Child Care Search. This tool will provide you with options for care that meet the search terms you use, but you will need to visit the centers or homes you are interested in to determine which will best fit your family’s needs. If you feel your search did not meet your family's needs we invite you to call, stop in our office, or contact us.
Paying for Child Care
Quality child care can be more affordable with the Child Care Assistance Program through IDHS. Families who meet income eligibility and service requirements may qualify for financial assistance. If you need help paying for child care, learn more and apply online through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).