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:

ExceleRate Illinois

Quality Improvement Rating Systems give early learning and development programs the framework to make continuous quality improvements and gain recognition for their quality achievements. QRIS provides programs with the knowledge, best practices, benchmarks and resources tha they need to support children effectively.

You plan a key 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 in life.

Illinois' quality rating and improvment system give syou a specific process for pursuing quality efforts that will help you learn more, do better and improve developmental skills among the children you impact. ExceleRate Illinois also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help ou make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes.

ExceleRate Illinois is a comprehensive system that includes:

  • Licensed Child Care Centers
  • Preschool for All and Center-Based Prevention Initative Programs
  • Head Start / Early Head Start Programs
  • LIcensed Family / Group Child Care Homes

ExceleRate Illinois is administered through INCCRRA under the joint direction of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

ExceleRate Illinois uses a consistent set of standards organized into four domains:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Family and Community Engagement
  • Leadership and Management
  • Qualifications and Continuining Education

Programs can achieve one of the Circles of Quality listed below based on meeting standards under each of those four domains.

  • Licensed Circle of Quality
  • Bronze Circle of Quality
  • Silver Circle of Quality
  • Gold Circle of Quality

Visit to find out more.

Child Care Resource Service have staff to help you along the way:

  • Barb Schuldt Infant Toddler Specialist
  • Tina Wiegel Quality Specialist
  • Jenny Garinger Quality Specialist
  • Kathy Martin Quality Specialist

The main objective of the Quality Team is to support providers in reaching their goals; to help providers understand the requirements, meet the standards, and plan for continuous quality improvement.

Call us at 333-3252 or 1-800-325-5516 (outside Champaign county) or email for more information or to have a specialist visit your program.


  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.

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

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