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Celebrate the Week of the Young Child!
The McLean County Association for the Education of Young Children is sponsoring 2 events for families on April 11th and April 19th. Click here to view the flyer.
Free Car Seat Checks
The CCRRN offers free car seat safety checks to parents and providers who want to make sure their child's safety seat is installed properly. Please click here to find out how you can get your safety seat checked for free. All checks are done by appointment only so please make sure to call and schedule an appointment (contact information is on flyer).
Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
The State of Illinois has one of the best subsidized child care programs in the country. Eligibility guidelines are based on criteria such as income, family size, etc. Parents are required to make a monthly co-payment to the provider to help in the cost of care. If you need help paying for child care, please click on this link for more information on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
Referral Services for Help Finding Child Care
The Child Care Resource and Referral Network maintains a database of quality child care providers in the counties of McLean, Livingston, DeWitt and Ford Counties in Central Illinois.
The Child Care Resource & Referral Network (CCRRN) now offers a free online child care search. The Quality Counts Online Child Care Search offers families an easy way to find a list of child care providers in your area. However, families need to have confidence in their child care arrangements. Finding quality, convenient and affordable child care is not an easy job. The options and tips below will help you get started. Take a moment to read these before you start your search. You will find the link to the online search page below. If you have any questions about Quality Counts Online Child Care Search or if you would rather receive referrals by phone, in person, by email or fax please call the CCRRN at (309) 828-1892 or (800) 437-8256.
What child care options are available?
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.
• Licensed Family Child Care providers* may care for up to eight children (including their own), or up to 12 children with an assistant.
• Licensed Family Child Care Group Home providers* may care for up to 16 children (including their own) with the help of a full-time assistant.
• License-Exempt Family Child Care providers (such as Family, Friend and Neighbor care) may care for three or fewer children (including their own), or children from one family.
* 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 & Programs - Child Care Centers provide care for groups of children outside of a residential setting. Children are usually grouped by age. Types of centers include: child care, Early Head Start/Head Start, State pre-kindergarten, preschools, school-age programs, and summer programs.
Licensed Child Care Centers must meet Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) standards for health and safety including child to staff ratios and required space per child. For licensed centers the following staff to child ratios and maximum group sizes are set by DCFS.
License-Exempt Child Care Centers are also recognized by Illinois, such as those serving children 3 years and older and operated by public or private elementary or secondary schools, faith based organizations, institutions of higher education of other accredited schools registered with the Illinois State Board of Education. Since these settings are not licensed they are not held to standards for health and safety, staff to child ratios or maximum group size set by DCFS.
What to look for in your search for quality child care
Play & Learn - Quality child care offers many opportunities for all children to play each day. Counting, reading skills and problem solving are just a few things learned through play. Here’s a Tip: Look for a provider who focuses on all aspects of your child’s development including language, social, emotional, physical and cognitive.
Qualifications - There are different caregiver qualifications for different child care settings. Training, education, experience and credentials prepare a child care provider to meet your child’s development needs. Here’s a Tip: Request a provider’s qualifications and references to learn more about their child care experience.
Positive Interactions - A quality child care provider guides children, helping them to get along with others in caring positive ways, and encourages you to be involved as well. Here’s a Tip: Look for a provider who is enthusiastic, attentive and encouraging.
Program Quality - Child Care Programs can participate in the Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) or national accreditation. Programs that have a Quality Counts QRS certification or accreditation have met voluntary standards for quality child care that are higher than the state licensing requirements. Here’s a Tip: Ask the provider if their program has a Quality Counts QRS certification or is accredited.
Environments - A quality child care environment is safe, clean and provides children with many learning opportunities. Here’s a Tip: Look for a setting where the children are supervised at all times, nutritious meals and snacks are served and where toys and learning activities are based on the age of the child.
Financial Assistance - The Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program provides financial help for families who meet income and work or education/training requirements. Here’s a Tip: To find out if you qualify for help with your child care costs check with us.
You have taken the time to learn about your child care options and a few tips to finding quality child care. Click below to start your Quality Counts Online Child Care Search.
If you would like more information on the referrals you may speak with a Referral Specialist and receive referrals by phone, in person, by email or fax. Please call the office and ask for a Referral Specialist or you may email the Referral Department. For guidance selecting quality child care, the Quality Child Care Choices brochure is provided as well as 38 Researched-Based Indicators of High-Quality Child Care. The Average Cost of Child Care for DeWitt, Ford, Livingston and McLean County (Illinois). You will need Adobe Reader to view these items.
Referrals to child care programs are not intended to serve as any type of recommendation. The CCRRN does not endorse or recommend any child care providers. You are encouraged to visit several facilities before making your final child care arrangement. It is a good idea to ask the child care provider for references and check them. Only you can determine the quality of care for your child.
Any information you give to the CCRRN to do your child care search is private and is not shared. CCRRN is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of its consumers.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) operate a Day Care Information Line that provides parents with licensing compliance information about licensed programs. We encourage you to call the information line at 1-877-746-0829.
Clients with concerns regarding the quality of the child care referral process or about referred providers should contact the Parent Services Manager at 309-828-1892 or 800-437-8256.
Helpful Links for Parents and Families:
Americans with Disabilities Act - Provides informative information to caregivers and families on ways to make the environment safe, accessible and accommodating to children.
Child Care Aware - Is a non-profit initiative committed to helping parents find the best information on locating quality child care and child care resources in their community.
Childhood Obesity Project (INCCRRA) - The seriousness of obesity in young children is communicated and connects you to current research on the issue.
Council for Exceptional Children - The CEC is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted.
The Daily Parent - Parents can find valuable information on child development issues, tips for finding quality child care and other resources for busy parents.
Early Intervention - Information for parents/caregivers of infants or toddlers who are aged 0-3 who may be showing signs of a developmental delay.
IDCFS - Illinois Department of Children & Family Services - On this web site you will find timely information about Child Protection, Foster Care, Adoption, Day Care licensing and other services provided by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS).
IDHS - Illinois Department of Human Services - To assist our customers to achieve maximum self-sufficiency, independence and health through the provision of seamless, integrated services for individuals, families and communities.
Illinois Early Learning - The IEL calendar includes training events of interest to parents and families, early childhood teachers and caregivers, early childhood special educators, parenting educators, and administrators of early childhood programs.
Kid's Care - Is a state program that offers health care coverage to children and pregnant women and helps in paying premiums of employer-sponsored or private insurance plans.
McLean County Family Child Care Association (MCFCCA) - a professional organization of both new and experienced child care providers who provide support and guidance for each other.
National Network for Child Care - NNCC unites the expertise of many of the nation's leading universities through the outreach system of Cooperative Extension. The goal is to share knowledge about children and child care from the vast resources of the landgrant universities with parents, professionals, practitioners and the general public.
National Parent Information Network - As part of the ERIC clearinghouse on elementary and early childhood education, this site focuses on information for parents. You will find a lot of great resources, including a magazine, discussion list, conference events, state networks, an "ask-ERIC" section, and much more.
National Child Care Information Center - Visit this site to find information on research and initiatives going on in the child care field. This page is also an excellent source for information on each state's ratios, teacher qualifications, demographics, and more.
INCCRRA - Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies - Is the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies which promotes and facilitates quality early care and education for children, families, child care providers, employers, and communities in Illinois through a coordinated effort. INCCRRA is the headquarters for Illinois child care resource and Referrals network.
NACCRRA - National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies - Is the national network of community-based child care resource and referral agencies. NACCRRA provides technical consultation and resources to member child care resource and referral agencies. Visit this website to find out more information and discover the benefits of membership.
National Child Care Association - The Mission of the National Child Care Association is to promote the growth and safeguard the interest of quality childhood care and education focusing on licensed, private providers of these services. Visit the website to learn more about the NECPA accreditation, legislative updates, and events.
Parenting 24/7 - Is an easy-to-use, one-stop source of news, information, and advice on parenting from University of Illinois Extension.
Parenting Again - This is a resource tool developed to help grandparents who have become parents again.
University of Illinois Extension-McLean County - Thousands of McLean County residents take advantage of research-based educational programming every year to enable them to make practical decisions to improve their quality of life. No matter what your age or occupation, or where you live, University of Illinois Extension-McLean County has something for you. Programming in leadership, agriculture, food and nutrition, work force preparedness and more is offered on an annual basis. The McLean County 4-H program reaches over 3,100 youth through 4-H community clubs or 4-H school enrichment activities.