Research Reports: Expanding Family Access and Choice

Parents’ experiences searching for care for children with disabilities

Coming soon.

Are CCAP payments to providers an effective policy tool for increasing child care supply and family access?

Coming soon.

Annual Report on Child Care in Cook County

A rich source of data on child care in Cook County, the annual reports assess child care in Cook County including infant care and care during non-traditional hours.
Read the 2022 report
Annual Report Archive


Expanding Illinois Child Care Assistance to Job and School Search: Experiences of Cook County Parents (2023)

Unemployed parents/guardians of young children in Illinois face a dilemma: they can’t look for a job without child care, but can’t afford child care without a job. Fortunately, in 2021, a temporary policy was put in place to assist parents/guardians with the cost of care while they look for work or enroll in school. The report assesses the impact of this policy on parents/guardians who received assistance.

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Cook County Parents, Non-Standard Work and Child Care (2022 Update)

This updated analysis finds that 40% of Cook County parents/guardians who use Illinois Child Care Assistance work non-standard hours (outside of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Learn more about these families and their child care options.

View the updated report

View the 2016 report

Parent Experiences During COVID-19 (2020)

Illinois Action for Children and our partners interviewed and surveyed hundreds of parents/guardians in Cook County and throughout Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report captures parents’/guardians’ experiences navigating the pandemic and managing their child care options.

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Child Care Equity Study – Impact of Subsidy Policy Changes (2022)

Recent policy changes in the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are intended to improve the quality and stability of care for families. We use an equity lens to explore the impacts of two policies: expanding parent eligibility from six to 12 months and new training requirements for license-exempt home providers. This research was done in partnership with the University of Chicago and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Searching for Child Care: Stories of Cook County Mothers (2020)

This special edition of our Annual Report on Child Care in Cook County brings parent/guardian voices to the forefront of the story. The report captures the experiences of families who have some of the hardest-to meet needs as they search for care in today’s child care market.

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SERIES: Has Access to Quality Child Care Improved for Low-Income Working Families in Illinois? (2019)

From 2011 to 2016, Illinois made substantial new investment in its early care and education system. This research series examines whether the availability of quality child care for low income working families increased during this period in Cook County and Southwestern Illinois. This three-part series looks at whether access to quality child care improved for children under age six, for infants and during non-traditional care hours.

Choices in the Real World: The use of family, friend, and neighbor child care by single Chicago mothers working nontraditional schedules (2013)

This report captures how 50 single mothers provided care for their young children, while they are working nontraditional schedules and how their choices impact their and their children’s well-being.

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Getting There: Cook County Parents’ Commute to Child Care and Work (2012)

The report assesses the locations of child care in relation to parents’/guardians’ homes and workplaces, how these distances vary by community, and the factors that may account for these variations.

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Working Later in Illinois: Work Schedules, Incomes and Access to Child Care (2006)

The relationship between nonstandard work schedules, income and child care for Illinois families based on the most recent federal data (the 2004 Current Population Survey).

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