Searching for Child Care: Stories of Cook County Mothers
This special edition of our annual Report on Child Care in Cook County brings parent voices to the front of the story. It captures the experiences of families who have some of the hardest-to meet child care needs as they search for care in today’s child care market. It follows mothers through their search, describing their hopes, challenges and compromises made related to their children’s care.
Has Access to Quality Child Care Improved for Low-Income Working Families in Illinois?
Over the period 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 – in particular, those eligible to receive the child care subsidy – increased during this period in two Illinois regions, Cook County and a 7-county region in Southwestern Illinois. This three-part series looks at whether access to quality child care improved for children under age 6, for infants and during non-traditional care hours.
State-Funded Preschool Availability in Illinois Depends Upon Where You Live: An Equity Analysis of ISBE Pre-K Resources
We have more evidence than ever before that educating and caring for our youngest children lays the foundation for their future life success—but too many roadblocks stand in the way of families being able to access quality early learning programs from birth through pre-k that are both convenient and affordable.
Our latest report seeks to answer the question “Who gets to go to preschool in Illinois?” and takes a hard look at just how equitable access is to high-quality, affordable early childhood programs in our state. We also offer policy recommendations on how to bridge that gap.
Technical Report: Estimating the Cost of a High-Quality, Universal Preschool System for Chicago
Estimating the cost of a universal prekindergarten system depends on projected enrollment, estimated revenue from existing funding streams, and projected costs of high-quality classrooms at CPS and CBOs. Illinois Action for Children (IAFC) completed a comprehensive financial analysis to estimate the cost of universal four-year-old prekindergarten that ensures funding and availability of programs for three-year-old children and specifically the additional revenue needed to support the full system. Download Report
Chicago’s Roadmap for Implementing Universal Pre-K: A Plan for Investment in Chicago’s Early Learning System*
Chicago’s Roadmap for Implementing Universal Pre-K is a four-year plan for providing a robust early childhood system that includes universal access to free, full-day pre-kindergarten for all Chicago four-year-olds, regardless of income, by the fall of 2021, while sustaining the City’s investment in birth-through-three-year-old services. The City anticipates opening approximately 500 additional pre-k classrooms on a community by community basis over the next three years to serve an additional 7,000 four-year-old Chicagoans. Download Report
*Chicago’s Roadmap for Implementing Universal Pre-K was developed with input from many stakeholders, including the Department of Family Support Services (DFSS), Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Mayor’s Early Learning Executive Council, early learning community-based providers, and early childhood advocates. Illinois Action for Children conducted the financial analysis to model costs to implement the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Plan (Technical Report above).
New Research on Subsidized Family, Friend and Neighbor Providers: Implications for Investing in Quality
Thousands of children in Cook County receive Child Care Assistance and receive child care from a family member, friend or neighbor. New rules require many of these providers to complete health and safety training and meet monitoring requirements. This report explores characteristics of subsidized family, friend and neighbor care in Cook County and the implications for designing a successful training and monitoring program.
Cost of Quality Early Learning Think Tank
Illinois Action for Children (IAFC) and The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) partnered to design and conduct the Cost of Quality Think Tank. Held May 16-17, 2018, in Chicago, the convening provided an opportunity for state and local leaders, advocates, and national experts engaged in cost studies of early learning programs to take stock of what they are learning about collecting, analyzing, and using cost data to inform and drive policy decisions about financing high-quality early learning programs. Highlights from the meeting, a summary of key findings, unanswered questions, and suggestions for next steps are provided in this document.
Cost of Child Care in Cook County in 2018
Child care is one of a family’s largest expenses. The amount that Cook County families pay for child care varies by region, care setting and the age of their children. On average it costs more than what many families pay for food, transportation or rent. Infant care in a child care center can cost more than sending a young adult to college. While the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps some lower-income families offset these costs, middle income families must bear the full cost burden.
Cook County Parents, Nonstandard Work and Child Care Research Brief
New research on the Child Care Assistance Program finds that almost half of Cook County parents with Assistance work nontraditional hours (evenings, nights and/or weekends). Few of these parents, moreover, use licensed child care.
The Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Illinois Research Brief
How the early care and education industry contributes to the Illinois economy.
- 2015 Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Illinois
- 2012 Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Illinois
- 2006 Economic Impact Cook County Profile
- 2005 Economic Impact of Child Care Statewide Report
Choices in the Real World: The use of family, friend and neighbor child care by single Chicago mothers working nontraditional schedules (2013)
Illinois Action for Children’s Trainings on Nutritional and Physical Activity Standards in Child Care Settings and How Child Care Providers Perceive and Practice the New Standards (2012)
Getting There: Cook County Parents’ Commute to Child Care and Work (2012)
Child Care and Early Education in Illinois: The Choices Parents Make (2008)
How family size, education level, income, and language relate to the choices families make, based on the Illinois sample of the 2004 National Survey of Children’s Health.
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) .