Research in Child Care and Early Learning

Exploring the child care and early learning experiences of Illinois’ families and care providers.

Uncovering Illinois Providers’ and Families’ Experiences

For the last several decades, researchers at Illinois Action for Children have elevated the experiences and voices of caregivers and early childhood providers in Illinois.

By pioneering the use of research tools, we’ve directly contributed to new understandings in the child care and education field — on the impact of COVID; family, friend and neighbor (FFN) child care; and systemic bias and inequities — while driving policy change at the state level.

Grandmother and grandson spending time together
Young mothers playing with baby girl in living room.

Featured report

Exploring the Impact of Systemic Bias and Inequity

We have broken down the impacts of Illinois early learning programs and policy by race and ethnicity, region, and ages of children involved, identifying the impact of systemic bias on young children and families in Illinois.

View The Child Care Equity Study

Featured Report

2023 Annual Report on Child Care in Cook County

Our annual report examines the state of child care for the year ending June 2022.

In particular, we look at the effect of the pandemic on child care slots within Cook County regions, the affordability of care, and trends related to some of the hardest-to-find care – including infant care and care during non-traditional hours.

View the 2023 Report

View Annual Report Archive

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Thousands of provider and family voices included in our research — and counting.

Featured report

Researching Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) Child Care in Illinois

Outside of parents, the FFN network — family, friends, and neighbors — provide the most care for children in the U.S.

FFN care is especially critical to parents who work early mornings, evenings, overnight or weekends — when most licensed child care programs do not operate — as well as families who do not speak English or who have other special care needs. Our research has worked to understand and highlight the contributions and challenges of FFN child care and its contribution in Illinois.

View Our FFN Report

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