How can I get an application for child care assistance?

You can download and print the application by clicking below:

You can also request an application via our Request Form. 

Applications can also be faxed, mailed, or emailed via our email ( or our main phone line at (217)333-3252 or toll-free at (800)325-5516.

Additionally, you can find applications next to the drop box located outside our building. We try to keep this box replenished several times a day. Local DHS agencies, supporting human service agencies, & participating child care providers often will have copies of the Child Care Application available at request as well. 

Who is eligible for child care assistance from the state?
  1.  Recipients of Temporary Assistance for needy families;
  2.  Teen parents enrolled in full-time in elementary, high school or GED classes to obtain in high school   degree or equivalent;
  3.  Homeless families that meet income requirements for their family size;
  4.  New applicants that need child care to work and or attend school must be at or below 200% of the most   current Federal Poverty Level for their family size;
  5.  New applicants that need child care to find employment or an approved education/training program
Is there a waiting list for child care assistance?

No. To the extent resources permit, it is the intent of the Department to provide child care services to all applicants that meet the eligibility requirement set forth in policy. If it is necessary to limit participation to stay within the amounts appropriated or resources available to the Department for childcare services, participation will be limited to priority service groups specified by IDHS. 

How long can I continue to receive child care assistance?

There is no time limit. As long as you are eligible, need child care to work or participate in an approved activity, your child(ren) continue to attend the approved provider and the age of the child(ren) is consistent with program guidelines, you remain eligible. Your approval letter will list the first and last months that you are eligible for assistance. Before your approval period ends, you will have to renew your child car by filling out a “redetermination” form. This form will be automatically mailed to you. If you don’t return your redetermination form and all required documents or if you no longer meet eligibility guideline of the program, your case will be canceled.

If I receive child care assistance from the state will I still have to pay something?

The State requires all parents to pay a monthly “co-payment” directly to their provider. Monthly co-payments are based on gross monthly income and family size. The State will deduct the parent co-payment from the total charges up to the maximum child care rate. If the co-payment is more than the total charges, the parent pays the lesser amount to the provider and no payment is made by the State.

Will my information be verified?

Yes. Information submitted by the parent/guardian on the application and supporting documentation is verified through various agencies’ databases and internet websites. Information from these databases and websites will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility.

What does “income eligible” mean?

A family is considered income eligible when the combined gross monthly income of all family members is at or below the maximum income level for the corresponding family size. In two-parent families both incomes must be combined to determine eligibility. Two-parent families include those with 2 or more adults living in the home, such as the applicant and his or her spouse or parents of a common child in the home. If due to lack of resources, restricted intake criteria is put into place, there may be different income level for approval based on whether this is a new application (intake) or a redetermination of, or change of information on an existing case.

What do I need to fill out if I am found over income?

If you are an over-income family, you must reapply with a new application and two new current consecutive stubs (these stubs cannot be the ones that have already been submitted). 

What are two current consecutive check stubs?

The two check stubs should be the last two that the parent received from their current employment. They can be no older than 30 days prior to our receipt of the paperwork unless the parent is paid on a semi-monthly or monthly basis. 

What if I just started a job and don’t have two current check stubs?

If the client has not worked for 30 days, they can submit with the application a letter from their employer that includes the following: 

  • The letter must be on the employer’s letterhead stationery. 
  • State the name of the client 
  • State the rate of pay  
  • State the total number of hours worked per week
  • State the employee’s work schedule with days and hours to be working 
  • Signed by an official representative of the employer, and include their name, title, and phone number for verification 
  • Include the employer’s FEIN or Social Security Number 
How can I verify employment if I am self-employed or cash paid?

A copy of the most recent, signed federal income tax return and all applicable schedules and attachments.  After April 15th of each year, only the tax return of the previous year is acceptable, if the tax return was submitted electronically, you must provide a copy of the receipt in the absence of a signature. If a tax return is not available, a monthly statement of earnings and expenses must be submitted until an income tax return is submitted.

If you are paid in cash, a payment verification letter is required from each individual who pays you in cash for performing a service.  You cannot write the letter yourself. It must be from the person who pays you.

All verifications must include the following information:

  • The name, address and phone number of the individual completing the letter;
  • The type of work performed;
  • Who performed the work;
  • The date(s) the work was completed or if the activity is on-going;
  • The rate of pay; and
  • The employee’s schedule.  

If the expenses exceed the gross receipts, the self –employment income will be zero. Those additional expenses which exceed the gross receipts will not be subtracted from other earned or unearned income in the household. If the number of hours worked cannot be verified, the amount of child care services allowed shall not exceed the documented income divided by the current State minimum hourly wage.

Must I be the child’s parent to qualify for the program?

No. A child’s legal guardian or other relatives caring for the child are also eligible and should fill out an application form. Foster parents can receive child care assistance from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS). 

If I am a teen parent living at home with my parents, do I count myself and my baby as a family size of 2 or can my parents be included to make a family size of 4?

A teen parent and his/her child(ren) are the only ones counted in the family size unless the teen parent is supporting the grandparents. 

What are the age limits on child care assistance?

All children age 12 and under are eligible. Children ages 13 to 18 are eligible if they are under court supervision or have written documentation from a medical provider stating that they are physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves.  

Can I receive child care assistance for the time I travel to or from work or school/training?

Yes. You can receive child care assistance for reasonable time you spend traveling to and from your child care provider to your job or school/training. 

What if my work schedule varies?

You may submit additional paycheck stubs and attach information to establish an average work schedule.

What is the difference between full time and part time care?

Providers are paid different daily rates according to the amount of hours the child is in child care. 

  • FT – full time – a parents’ child care need is for 5 or more hours a day up to 12 hours per day. 
  • PT – part time – a parents’ child care need is for less than 5 hours a day
What if my child’s other parent or stepparent lives in my home?

If the child’s other parent or stepparent lives in your home, he or also needs to be working or in school, training, or a TANF-required activity or seeking employment in order for you to receive a child care subsidy. The other parent or stepparent also needs to complete pages 5 & 6 of the application and submit the same kinds of documents as you do, which are listed in the application instructions. Both parents must sign page 14 of the child care application. 

When can my child start in care?

Children should not attend child care prior to the approval notice unless the parent and the provider have a payment agreement plan in place until the approval/denial notice is received by both the parent and the provider. IDHS will not pay for any care provided before the case is approved.

What should I do if my circumstances change?

The parent or provider should inform SAL Child Care Connection when any of the following changes occur:

  • Change providers
  • Change address
  • Stop working
  • Stop receiving TANF
  • Stop attending school or training
  • Have medical/maternity leave
  • Change family size
  • Change income
  • Change jobs
  • Have any other changes that may affect your eligibility

Failure to report any changes within 30 days may result in an overpayment which you will have to pay back and /or loss of child care benefits. If you stop working, you may be able to continue to receive a child care subsidy up to 90 days after the loss of your job while you look for work, if reported within 90 days.

Is it required that I provide my social security number?

Social Security Numbers are not required at this time for child care eligibility and eligibility will not be denied due to your failure to provide this information. Social Security Numbers are used to assemble research data sets that do not identify individuals and to verify income. Social Security Numbers will be disclosed for administrative purposes only and are confidential.

What is an RPY case?

RPY stands for Representative Payee. This includes parents and other relatives eligible to receive child care services include relatives (other than parents) who receive child-only TANF benefits as a Representative Payee for children in need of care while they work. 

What is a site case?

A federally-funded child care facility. 

How can I find a child care provider?

Call our parent counselors at CCRS (217)333-3252 (option 3) or toll-free (800)352-5516 to get help finding child care for your child. It is best to have a child care provider before you submit your application.

Does my child care provider have to be licensed?

No. Certain home child care providers are not required to have a license. A provider without a license must be at least 18 years old and may care for three (3) children including the provider’s own children or may care for all of the children from a single household. 

Will the State pay relatives to take care of my child?

Yes. Relatives can be paid to provide child care even if they live in the home with the child however, siblings of the child in care cannot be paid if they reside in the same home as the child. Parents and stepparents also cannot be paid as child care providers regardless of where they reside. TANF clients can be paid child care providers; however, earnings must be reported to their IDHS caseworkers. Exception: the State will not pay any relatives included in the child’s TANF grant to care for the child. 

Does the State do any kind of background check on child care providers?

In Illinois, all child care providers must undergo a background check. The background check consists of three parts: a CANTS check (Child Abuse & Neglect Tracking System/SACVVIS), and other state child protection systems, or the National Registry, as appropriate a SOR check (Sex Offender Registry and the National Sex Offenders Registry as appropriate), and a criminal history record check which is done through fingerprinting submitted to the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Your provider will be required to have some or all of these checks. If care is done in your provider’s home, anyone who lives in the home who is age 13 or older will also be required to be checked. There is no charge to the parent or the provider for the background check. Your CCR&R will tell your provider and their household members which checks they are required to complete. 

Can my child care provider charge me more than my co-payment amount?

Yes, if your provider charges private paying parents a higher rate than the IDHS program pays, your provider can ask you to pay the difference by requiring a fee in addition to your co-payment. Be sure that you and your provider discuss what you are expected to pay before care for your child starts. If your provider’s costs are too high for you, your CCR&R may be able to help you find a child care provider who is more affordable. Call them for help finding a new child care provider.

When will my child care provider get paid?

It can take 4 to 8 weeks for your provider to receive the first payment. After your provider receives the first payment, regular payments should arrive on a monthly basis. The reason the first payment takes longer is your provider’s name and social security number must be recorded with the Office of the Comptroller before any payments can be made. To do this, the CCR&R will mail your provider a W9 tax form. The sooner he or she neatly completes and returns the W9 form to the CCR&R, the sooner he or she gets paid. After the Office of the Comptroller has your provider’s information on file, we can send him or her the first “billing certificate”. This is the form that you and your provider complete each month tell IDHS how much to pay your provider.

Can taxes be taken out of my child care provider’s payment?

Child care providers are considered to be self-employed and taxes cannot be deducted from IDHS payments. This income is taxable and must be reported when filing federal and state income tax returns. The Office of the Comptroller sends out a 1099 tax information form after each calendar year of all individual providers that earn $600 or more a calendar year.

If I am a client or child care provider and I move, will my mail and checks be forwarded?

No, all clients and providers must fill out and submit a client/provider address form within 10 days of relocating

Who gets the copay when I have two providers?

The provider receiving the largest reimbursement will receive the copayment.

Why has money been taken out of my provider’s check?

Each parent is assigned a ‘copayment’ that they are responsible for paying to the provider. This amount is automatically deducted from the providers check before the check is issued. In addition, if the provider is part of the SEIU union, dues will be deducted from their payment.