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Illinois Child Care Assistance Program

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DHS' Child Care Assistance Program provides low-income, working families with access to quality, affordable child care that allows them to continue working and contributes to the healthy, emotional and social development of the child. Families are required to cost-share on a sliding scale based on family size, income and number of children in care.

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Who can receive these services?

In addition to helping low-income, working families, the Child Care Assistance Program also serves:

  • Families who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and participating in education & training in accordance with their responsibility and service plans (RSP);
  • Teen parents seeking a high school degree or its equivalent; and/or
  • Families not receiving TANF, who are pursuing additional education to improve their job opportunities.

What services are offered?

Families can get a child care subsidy through the use of certificates or contracts. Under the certificate system, eligibility is determined by one of the 16 Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies located throughout the state. You can choose the child care provider who best fits your individual needs and care is available for full-time, part-time care or before and after school. You can use licensed or license-exempt child care centers and family homes, licensed group child care homes, in-home and/or relative care.

The 16 Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies that DHS contracts with also perform the following services for parents and/or providers:

  • Provide parents with consumer education and referrals to child care in their communities;
  • Deliver training and assistance to providers in order to improve the quality of care offered;
  • Help develop new child care resources in communities where they are needed;
  • Assemble and maintain an accurate child care database to provide up-to-date information to parents; and
  • Record and analyze data on child care supply and demand to support community capacity building.
  • Great START - provides wage supplements to eligible practitioners working in licensed centers and homes.
  • T.E.A.C.H. - provides scholarships for early childhood education and compensation incentives to eligible individuals working in child care centers and licensed family homes.

How to apply?

Families may apply for licensed care from a statewide network of approximately 175 contracted providers. Eligibility is determined on-site by the provider allowing families the freedom to choose from a variety of care settings to best meet the needs of both parents and children.

If you would like to find out if you qualify for assistance from the Child Care Program, please check the Child Care Assistance Program Eligibility Calculator to get an estimated calculation. You will need to know the county you live in, the number of family members in your household, how many children will need care, and your annual income. 

Contact your local Child Care Referral & Resource agency if you would like to find quality child care or receive an application to apply for the Child Care Assistance Program.

CCAP Billing Information

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