One of the first decisions parents have to make when looking for child care is deciding what kind of care is best for their family.
Parents have two basic choices to choose from, (one option isn’t better than the other, just different):
1. Family Child Care
1. Licensed Family Child Care
2. License Exempt Child Care
2. Child Care Centers
1. Licensed Centers
2. License Exempt Centers
Family Child Care
Some families choose for their child to be cared for in a home-like setting. Family child care providers fulfill this need by offering care for children in their homes. There are different types of Family Child Care including:
- Licensed Family Child Care providers
º These providers are licensed by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), and must follow all required guidelines. To see the licensing guidelines summary for day care homes, click here.
- Licensed Family Child Care Group Home providers
º These providers are also licensed by DCFS, however they may care for an additional number of school aged children depending on their licensed capacity and number of assistants they have employed. To see the licensing guidelines summary for day care group homes, click here.
- License-Exempt Family Child Care providers
º These providers are not licensed by the state, but could include family, friends, neighbors, or nanny care. These providers may provide care in your home, or their own home.
*Licensed family child care providers and licensed family child care group home providers must meet Illinois Department of Children and Family Services standards for health and safety including child to staff ratios and required space per child.
Child Care Centers
Some families choose for their child to be cared for in a center-based environment. There are different types of Child Care Centers including:
- Licensed Child Care Centers
º These providers are licensed by the Illinois Department of Child & Family Services (DCFS), and must follow all required guidelines. To see the licensing guidelines summary for Child Care Centers, click here.
- License-Exempt Child Care Centers
º These providers are not licensed by DCFS. Exempt centers can include the following types of facilities:
§ Programs in a public, private or secondary school serving children
3 yrs and older
- Programs on federal government property
§ Programs operated by a church or social service agency where an individual child is cared for less than 10 hours in a seven day week
- Programs that provide temporary care while the parent is on the premises
§ Programs that offer short term, special activities and are operated by civic, charitable or governmental organizations
To find information on a child care provider, including current status, license number, capacity and information on past history call Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) DayCare Information line at 877-746-0829.
If you have a complaint about a child care facility or provider that may include possible child abuse, neglect, or licensing violations you can call DCFS at 1-800-252-2873.