FAQ’s – The Illinois Child Care Assistance Program

HomeFAQ’s – The Illinois Child Care Assistance Program


When will I find out if I’m approved for child care assistance?
You and your provider will be notified of approval or denial up to 30 business days after we receive your completed child care application.

Is there a waiting list for child care assistance?
No! Anyone who meets the eligibility requirements may receive child care assistance.

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 Department of Children and Family Services.

What are two current and consecutive check stubs?
The two check stubs submitted should be the last two the parent/guardian received from their current employer. Check stubs must be back to back, two in a row and can be no older than 30 days prior to receipt of the paperwork.

If I am a teen parent living at home with my parents, do I count me and the baby as a family of two or can we be counted as a family of four?
A teen parent and his/her child(ren) are the only ones counted in the family size unless the teen is supporting the grandparents.

How old can the child be?
All children under age 13 are eligible. Children 13 or older 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.

How long can I continue to receive child care assistance?

There is no time limit. As long as you are income eligible and need child care to work or participate in an approved activity, you remain eligible. Your eligibility will be redetermined at least every 3 to 6 months or as needed.

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

The State requires all parents to pay a “co-payment” directly to their provider. The co-payment is based on the parent’s gross income and family size. The amount of the co-payment will be shown on the Approval Notice you receive. The Department will pay the provider directly for the remaining child care charges up to the maximum rate. However, if the child care provider charges more than the maximum rate, you may be responsible to pay the difference in addition to your copay.

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 18 years old and may not care for more than 3 children, including their own children, in a 24 hour period.

Will the State pay relatives to take care of my child?
Yes. If the provider is not the parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of the children, they can be paid to provide child care even if they live in the home with the child. Exception: the State will not pay a child’s parents, stepparents, or parent of any of the children living in the home or relative 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?
Yes. The State checks to see whether the provider has committed child abuse or neglect or has committed a serious crime. If your child goes to the provider’s home, a background check will be done on all members of the provider’s household who are 13 and older.

What if I am looking for a child care provider?
You may call a Child Care Specialist at Child Care Resource & Referral at 1(800)552-5526 or 815 741-1179 to get help finding care for your child. You must have a child care provider before you submit your application.

How much will the child care provider be paid by the State?
The most the State will pay depends on the age of the child, the region of the State, the type of child care provider, and whether the child is in full time or part time care. All providers are considered self-employed (Not Employees of IDHS or CCR&R). Taxes are not taken out of payments. Providers who receive over $600.00 in income a year will receive a 1099 from the State of Illinois as this income is reported for tax purposes. Providers are responsible for reporting income to the IRS.

What is the difference between full time and part time care?
Full time = child care need is for 5 or more hours a day
Part time = child care need is for less than 5 hours a day

Can you explain the billing process:
Child Care provider fills out and mails, or calls-in, their child care certificate
CCR&R receives certificate and enters within 5 business days from the date the certificate is received

  • The system transfers information to the Vouchering Unit in Springfield
  • The Voucher Unit reviews the information
  • The Voucher Unit transfers the information to the Comptroller Unit in Springfield
  • The Comptroller’s office prints the check and mails it out within 2 weeks to
    30 days or when funding is available

Can I receive child care assistance for the time I travel to or from work or from work or school / training?
Yes. You can receive child care assistance for the time you spend traveling to and from your child care provider to your job or school / training, as well as for the time you are working or attending school / training. This time must be reasonable. Travel time must be requested.

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 she also needs to be working or in school, training, or a TANF-required activity in order for you to receive financial assistance. The other parent or stepparent also needs to complete pages 4 – 6 of the application and submit the required documents. If the other parent or stepparent is not working, or in a school or training program, or in a TANF-required activity, he or she is responsible for caring for the child. The other parent must also sign all paperwork as 2nd parent when requested.

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. Databases include, but are not limited to: TANF, Food Stamps, Medical, Employment Security, Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, Child Support Enforcement. Information from these databases and websites will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility.

What if my work schedule varies?
You may submit additional paycheck stubs and attach additional information to establish an average work schedule; however you must fill in an example schedule in the appropriate boxes on the application.

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 begins. If your provider’s fees are too high for you, your CCR&R may be able to assist you in finding a more affordable provider.

Can parents request sleep time?
If a parent works full time (defined as 5 hours or more) during the third shift (defined as the hours from 11: p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) care may be authorized during daytime hours in order to sleep if all other income and eligibility requirement are met. Care can be authorized only on days that follow an over-night work schedule. Sleep time must be requested.

Can study time be approved for child care assistance?
Child care services may be granted for up to one hour of study time per week for each hour of course credity. When possible, study periods should be arranged around regularly scheduled classes in order to provide a consistent and uninterrupted routine for the child(ren) in care. Study time must be requested.

Can medical leave be approved for child care assistance?
Child care services are allowable for up to twelve (12) weeks during a medical leave if the client submits the following documentation:

  • A letter from the doctor on letterhead stationery that states:
    1.  The client’s name, diagnosis, and prognosis,
    2.  The projected length of the medical leave,
    3.  The client is unable to work, and
    4.  The client is unable to care for his/her own children.
  • A letter from the employer that states the client has a job to return to after the medical leave is over and/or an idhs income verification form. You must have an active child care case to request medical leave.

Can Maternity Leave be approved for child care assistance?
Child care for Maternity Leave is allowable for up to twelve (12) weeks postpartum if the client submits the following documentation:

  • A letter from the doctor on letterhead stationery that states:
    1.  Date of delivery
    2.  Date the client will be released to return to work.
  • A letter from the employer, on letterhead stationery, that states the client has a job to return to after the maternity leave is over and/or an idhs income verification form. You must have an active child care case to request maternity leave.
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