Increasing the quality of early childhood programs is a top priority in Illinois. Below you will find information on various scholarship programs, professional development opportunities as well as other resources to support quality enhancements.
The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge is a joint initiative of the federal Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services aimed at driving the quality of early childhood systems by enhancing cross system collaboration and targeting support to high need children.
Gateways to Opportunity Professional Development System
Statewide professional development support system designed to provide guidance, encouragement, and recognition to individuals and programs serving children, youth, and families.
Gateways to Opportunity Registry
The Gateways to Opportunity Registry is a web based tool for early learning and other youth practitioners and programs to drive quality and accountability by allowing for easy monitoring of individual professional attainments and trainings.
Gateways Scholarship Program
Scholarships are available to assist students in early childhood programs of study.
Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC)
PDAC is an advisory body which makes recommendations on improving the stability of the early care and education workforce through increased professional development and improved opportunities for career advancement.
This Quality Rating and Improvement System provides a process for pursuing quality efforts that will help providers and improve developmental skills among the children they serve.
2014 ExceleRate Awards of Excellence available here.
Language for Screening Memorandi of Understanding for Early Care & Education programs and Lead Education Agencies, as well as guidance for screening, is now available. Please see the links below.
Early Learning Insights
Starting in March of 2015, the Office of Early Childhood Development will send out Early Learning Insights, the monthly OECD Newsletter, on the first Tuesday of each month. If you'd like to receive Early Learning Insights in your mailbox each month, email us to let us know.
IDHS Child Care Telephone Billing System for Providers: The IDHS Child Care Telephone Billing system is an alternative to mailing the Child Care certificate to the local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency at the end of the each month.
Become a licensed child care provider
Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers
Licensing Standards for Day Care Homes
DCFS Day Care Information Hotline: 877-746-0829