Child Care Resource Service | Illinois

Office Hours
8:30 am- 4:30 pm
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
11:00 am - 4:30 pm

Phone Hours
8:30 am- 3:00 pm
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
11:00 am- 3:00 pm

Funding Quality
Quality Improvements Begin With You.

Below you'll find information on:

  • Quality Rating System (QRS)
  • Quality Counts Van Services
  • Quality Improvement Funds - Formerly Child Care Quality Counts Mini Grants - not currently available
    • Quality Rating & Improvement System Cohorts
    • Training Stipend
    • Accreditation Assistance
  • Individual Professional Development Funds (IPDF) - not currently available

Quality Rating System (QRS)

Be Recognized & Rewarded for What You Already Embrace - Quality Child Care for Young Children!

As an early learning and development program, you play a pivitol role in giving our state's youngest children the best start in life. Now there's a new system in Illinois that can help you make quality your top priority. ExceleRate Illinois helps you prepare children for success in school and life.

ExceleRate is a comprehensive system that will include, licensed child care centers, Preschool for All programs, Head Start programs, and licensed family child care homes. The state of Illinois is launching this program in small steps. Visit for a current status on this exciting program.

At this time, child care centers should use the ExceleRate guidlines. Family child care providers will continue to use QRS guidlines as outlined below.

Providers serving families on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and receiving state payments have the opportunity to participate in the QC~Quality Rating System. This voluntary program provides child care providers with more money for meeting specific indicators of quality care.

  • To be eligible for QRS providers must meet specific eligibility requirements based on the type of care they offer:

Quality CountsLicensed-Exempt Family Child Care (non-licensed) Providers (en español) need to complete specific training in order to become eligible for a Training Tier 1-3 with add-on rates ranging from 10%-20%.      

Quality CountsLicensed Family/Group Home Child Care Providers (en español) need to complete specific training and meet specific indicators of quality based on the Star Level applied for.  Once it has been verified that a provider meets the criteria for a particular Star Level 1-4, a quality add-on will be applied to the base reimbursement from the state ranging from 5%-20%.

Quality Counts License-Exempt Child Care Centers are ineligible for this program.   

ALL home providers interested in applying to QRS must attend the Quality Rating System Orientation prior to application.  By attending this two hour training you will learn all about the statewide quality rating and tiered reimbursement system including eligibility requirements, application process and supports/resources available. Please check the training calendar for times and locations.

For more information please go to the Illinois Network for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies website at or contact one of our Quality Specialists at (217) 333-3252 option #3 or (800) 325-5516 option #3.  Read about QRS in spanish/en español.


  Quality Counts Van Services   


The Quality Counts Resource Specialist will visit your home or center providing developmentally appropriate literacy activities including a story and/or a hands-on project. The QC Resource Specialist will also provide technical assistance and resources including professional development opportunities, resource books and free childrens books. Call Kathy, the Quality Counts Resource Specialist today at (217) 333-3252, option 3 or (800) 325-5516, option 3.

The Quality Counts Van Services also include:

  • Welcome Services - The Quality Counts Van can make appointments to visit newly licensed providers and explain our services.-
  • License-Exempt Visits - The Quality Counts Van makes special visits to license-exempt homes and offers demonstrations of literacy activities.
  • Library Visits - The Quality Counts Van has a mobile resource library with materials and acitivity kits available for checkout every 6 weeks to providers. Contact the Quality Counts Coordinator, Kathy for more information.

Quality Counts Van Schedule

The van schedule lists the days the Quality Counts Van will visit an area for providers who need to return materials or check out new resource kits. Please have materials sanitized and ready for pick up on the dates listed in the van schedule.

View Van Schedule >>

Quality Counts Van Library Inventory

  • The Child Care Resource Service has a traveling lending library, the Quality Counts Van, available to the child care providers on our database.
  • The van is stocked with books, big books, puppets, flannel boards, theme kits, and more to help the children in your care improve their literacy skills and to get them ready for school. All of the books and activities are available to check out for a 6-week period.
  • If you would like to sign up for the van to visit your home or center, please call CCRS. Visits are limited to available routes. Scheduled visits are done weather permitting.
  • If you are already part of our Quality Counts Van schedule and you would like to browse our Van Library inventory prior to your visit, use the link below. Send an email to the Quality Counts Specialist to reserve an item for drop off on your next van visit.

View Van Library >>


Quality Improvement Funds - Formerly Quality Counts Mini Grants

Quality Improvement Funds (QI Funds) have replaced the Quality Counts Child Care Competitive Grants. The QI Funds are available to support continued quality improvement for child care programs. These funds are designed to assist child care programs to improve program quality and achieve / advance an ExceleRate IL Circle of Quality or a Quality Counts Quality Rating System star level.

The QI Funds are divided into three areas:

  • Quality Rating & Improvement System Cohorts
    • The cohorts will be a group of individuals working towards a common goal. CCRS will be offering cohort groups for programs working to improve the qulaity of care, working towards / maintaining an ExceleRate IL Circle of Quality (centers) or Quality Rating System (QRS) Star Level (family child care). Cohorts will be led by CCRS staff. The child care program's administrator is required to attend all cohort sessions. Upon completion of the cohort requirements and the program's self-assessment, programs may request funds to help achieve objectives noted on the program's Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (CQIP).
  • Training Stipend
    • Licensed center child care programs working towards / maintaining an ExceleRate IL Circle of Quality may apply for a training stipend. The stipend applies only to the required trainings within an ExceleRate IL Circle of Quality and is available only for the staff required to attend.
  • Accreditaiton Assistance
    • The Accreditation Assistance option is for child care programs that are applying / maintaining an ExceleRate IL Silver or Gold Circle of Quality (centers) / Quality Rating System Star Level (family child care).

Click here for the application to apply for Quality Improvement Funds. Attached is a basic application with supplemental sections for each of the three funding areas. Funding is complete for FY15. Please check back in the fall.

The national accreditation systems currently approved for support are:

COA- Council on Accreditation (School Age Credential)
NAC - National Association of CHild Care Professionals (National Accreditation Commission)
NAFCC - National Association of Family Child Care
NAEYC - National Association for the Education of Young Children
NECPA - National Early Childhood Program Accreditation

For more information, contact us at (217) 333-3252 option 3 or (800) 325-5516, option 3.

Credentials - Funding is available for the following credentials:

  1. CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential - Council for Professional Recognition
  2. CCP (Child Care Professional) Credential- National Child Care Association
  1. ECE- Illinois Early Childhood Education Credential
  2. IDC- Illinois Directors Credential
  3. ITC- Infant Toddler Credential
  4. Level 1 ECE Credential (no current funding for Lvel 1 ECE Credential)

The Gateways to Opportunity Registry application is now available to complete and submit online. 

gateways link
To find out what funding may be available to help you pursue a credential, contact CCRS at (217) 333-3252, option 3 or (800) 325-5516, option 3.

Individual Professional Development Funds (IPDF)

  • Based on available funding, Child Care Resource Service is offering funds to family child care providers, child care center directors and staff, child care programs, and professional child care associations in Champaign, Douglas, Iroquois, Macon, Piatt and Vermilion counties.
  • The Professional Development Fund (IPDF) is designed to support individual pursuit of professional development in early care and education and is supported through the Federal Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG), administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services.
  • Family child care providers, child care centers and school-age programs must be listed with the CCRS Provider Database to apply for IPDF.
  • Funding is available for Professional Development.
IPDF Guidelines and Application - funding is complete for FY15. Please check back in the fall.