Quality Improvement Funds

Quality Improvement Cohort

The Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency will offer cohort groups for programs working to improve the quality of care, working towards or maintaining an ExceleRate™ IL Silver or Gold Circle of Quality. Upon completion of the cohort requirements/expectations and the program’s self-assessment, as applicable, programs may request funds to help achieve objectives noted on the program’s Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (CQIP). Please note: First time applicant programs are given priority for cohort participation.

Four icon shapes arranged in a pattern. Decorative.
A small group of Kindergarten students sit with their female teacher as they work away building structures. They are each dressed casually as they work on their projects and talk amongst themselves.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Centers must be working towards/maintaining ExceleRate™ IL under the child care path. Licensed Family Child Care and Family Group Homes must be working towards/ maintaining ExceleRate™ IL under the Licensed Family Child Care path.
  2. Attend and participate in the cohort meetings.
  3. Self-assessment: If maintaining an ExceleRate™ Circle, must have completed within the last 6 months. If working towards an ExceleRate™ application, must be willing to complete it as part of cohort participation.
  4. Must meet with a Quality and/or Infant Toddler Specialist at least four (4) times.

Apply for ExceleRate™ Illinois Quality Improvement Cohort

Applications Closed
Purple circle background shape
Purple teardrop background shape

Frequently Asked Questions

  • A program administrator is required to attend. For agencies with more than one child care program, an administrator from each site is required to attend.
  • Program administrator is defined as: for centers, the person responsible for the on-site day to day operation of the child care program (director, assistant director, director/teacher –when 50% or more time is spent in administration role); for licensed family child care (LFCC) it is the primary care provider.
  • Teaching staff (teacher/assistant teacher, school age worker/assistant) from a child care program or assistants from a LFCC program that is working towards improving the quality of care, and working towards/maintaining an Excelerate™ IL circle of quality.
  • Based on provider applications, the CCR&R may need to limit the number of staff members attending from one program.

Yes, at a minimum the program administrator must attend all meetings. Additional program staff are welcome and encouraged to participate.

CCR&R will work to address the needs of the applicants. For example, assessment tools, programs completing a self-assessment, how to develop a CQIP, and/or national accreditation.

Various CCR&R system staff, depending on the cohort topic.

A team of CCR&R staff will review applications and based on the needs will assign the cohort groups.

In addition to a completed application and supplemental application C, the following documentation is required:

  • W-9 form (included in the application packet)

Materials and equipment to meet the Excelerate™ IL circle of quality standards that are documented as needs through the self-assessment/CQIP.

  • General operating expenses
  • Consumable items (e.g., paint, food, cleaning supplies, etc.)
  • Staff salaries/wages, benefits, bonuses, used equipment
  • Televisions, VCR, DVR, video gaming systems
  • Screen devices for children under 2
  • Vehicles, vehicle repair
  • Motorized riding toys
  • Pools and pool equipment
  • Items from a 3rd party purchase
  • Trampolines
  • Items that restrict child mobility
  • Service agreements (e.g., Cell phone, internet)
  • Developmentally inappropriate items
  • On-going per child costs associated w/assessment tools
  • Alexa or other virtual assistants
  • Cosmetic improvements to the facility, desks
  • Consultants, mentors, coaches
  • Staff training
  • Appliances
  • Fire doors
  • Sprinkler systems

Please note: e-learning materials should be discussed with your local school district.

There will be a minimum of three (3) cohort meetings. Exact dates and times will be established once participants are selected but will start in October 2023 and end in March of 2024.


Complete applications (including supporting documentation) for cohort MUST BE RECEIVED BY September 8, 2023 by 5:00 p.m.


Funding Range for the fiscal year (July-June).

The allowable funding applies for any combination of QI Funds.

Provider Type Capacity Funding Range
Licensed Family Child Care Up to $1,200
Licensed Family Group Home Up to $1,500
Child Care Center
50 or less
101 or more
Up to $3,000
Up to $5,000
Up to $8,000


Please note that the funding range is a combination of all three quality improvement fund areas.


Pay vendor directly for approved provider expenditures.

Teacher And Pupils Using Flower Shapes In Montessori School

Have Questions? Get Answers!

For more information, contact our Quality Improvement Funds team:




Purple teardrop background shape
Purple half circle background shape