Illinois Childcare
State Requirements

Worker Qualifications

Must be at least 19 and have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate (GED) and 60 semester hours of credit from an accredited college or university, including 6 semester hours in courses directly related to child care and/or child development (birth to 6 years) or 1 year (1560 clock hours) child development experience in a nursery school, kindergarten or licensed day care center and 30 semester hours of credits from an accredited college or university, including 6 semester hours in courses directly related to child care and/or child development or a Child Development Associate credential.

Do I need to be licensed to do child care in my home?

If the number of unrelated children you provide care for, is more than three (including your own children under age 12), you will need to obtain a child care license from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Can I be license-exempt?

If you provide care for only three or fewer children under the age of thirteen, including your own, or children from a single household or only children related to you, then you may be license-exempt.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) policy differs from DCFS in that while DCFS allows you to care for numberous children that are all related, IDHS only allows payment if the children are all from the same household family. 

If they are related and but not from the same household, the limit is 3 children. 

Under the guidelines of providing legal care, submitting necessary forms, and passing background checks, you will be able to receive payments at the License-exempt rate from IL DHS to care for children who are receiving state assistance.

Provider /Child Ratio
Age Range Ratios For Center Based Care in Illinois State
Infants (1:4)
Toddlers (1:5)
2 years (1:8)
Preschool (1:10)
Schoolage (1:20)
Mixed age group ratio for youngest child in group
Age Range Ratios For Family Child Care in Illinois State
Maximum provider/child ratio is (1:12), which includes providers own children under age 12, and with no more than 6 children under age 5 and no more than 3 under 30 months ; OR a school age group consisting of 8 school age children.

Contact Information
Child Care Licensing Agency
Illinois Department of Children & Family Services
406 East Monroe Street, Station 60
Springfield, IL 62701-1498
Phone: (217) 785-2688
Fax: (217) 782-6446
Illinois Daycare Listings 
Child Care Subsidy Agency
Illinois Department of Human Services
Office of Child Care and Family Services
400 West Lawrence, 3rd Floor
Springfield, IL 62762-0001
Phone: (217) 785-2559
Fax: (217) 524-6030
Head Start - State Collaboration Office
Bureau of Child Care & Development
10 Collinsville Avenue, Suite 203
East St. Louis, IL, 62201
Phone: (618) 583-2083 or (618) 583-2088
Fax: (618) 583-2091
Child Care Food Program Agency
Division of Nutrition Programs & Support Services
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001
Phone: (217) 782-2491
Fax: (217) 524-6124
State Child Care Resource & Referral Contact
207 W. Jefferson St., Suite 503
Bloomington, IL 61701-3961
Phone: (309) 829-5327
Toll Free: (800) 649-1884
Fax: (309) 828-1808
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Division of Child Support Enforcement
Illinois Department of Public Aid
509 S. 6th St., 6th Floor
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Phone: (800) 447-4278
Fax: (217) 524-4608
Child Abuse Reporting

To report suspected child abuse in Illinois, call Toll-Free: (800) 252-2873l. Local (toll): (217) 524-2606

For national child abuse information, call Childhelp®, 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453), or your local CPS agency.

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