For Parents & Families

Find and Pay for Child Care

Discover affordable child care options available to you and your family close to home all year long through our early childhood programs and supports.

Find Child Care Options Fit for You

The best type of child care for your child and family depends on your needs. There are three types of child care settings to consider.

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Child Care Centers

Child care centers provide care for groups of children. These licensed and license-exempt centers may be Head Start, Early Head Start, or Illinois Preschool for All Programs. These settings have more availability for children over two years of age.

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Family Child Care

Family child care is offered in the home of the child care provider. There are three types of family child care: licensed homes, group homes and license-exempt homes. In this home environment, children have opportunities for flexibility, siblings, and care from a single, consistent caregiver.

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In-Home Child Care

An in-home child care provider cares for your child in your residence. This caregiver could be a nanny, a relative, or an au pair. This type of care is not regulated by DCFS licensing standards. As a parent, you are the employer of the caregiver.

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Licensed vs. License-Exempt Child Care Options in Illinois

Whether at home or in a center, the provider and the parents are partners in keeping the children safe, happy, healthy and thriving.

Licensed providers are subject to additional oversight that license-exempt providers are not. Whether you choose a licensed or license-exempt child care option, the priority should be on child wellbeing.

Learn More About Child Care Types 

We Made Finding and Paying for Child Care Easy!

Prices for child care can range from cheap to out of reach. And how do you know that cost equates to quality?

Our team supports you in finding high-quality affordable daycare. Through financial assistance and our referral program, we support Illinois’ families in finding and paying for child care.

Learn more about Child Care Referrals

Get a referral 

Illinois Action for Children can assist you with finding a child care provider for children age birth-13. Complete the form to request a referral.

Learn more about CCAP 

Qualifying families can receive financial assistance in paying for child care through CCAP. Learn more about income and family qualifications.

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Have Questions? Get Answers.

We are here to help! If you have any questions regarding your CCAP case, please email us at or call 312.823.1100

This email is only for case inquiries and general questions. We are not accepting any paperwork through this email. To help us effectively assist you with questions, please give us the case name, child care case number, and contact information.

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Our Mission

Transforming Child Care and Early Learning in Illinois.

We are deeply rooted in advocacy that lifts community voices and drives policy change to benefit under-represented children and families, caregivers, educators and communities across Illinois.

Our child care programs are just one piece of the puzzle. By activating policy makers, advocates, child care providers and our communities, we drive change and make high-quality child care and early education accessible to everyone in our community.

Learn More About Us

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