Child care centers provide care for groups of children outside of a residential setting.

  • Licensed Child Care Centers must meet Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) standards for health and safety including child to staff ratios and required space per child.
  • Licensed-Exempt Child Care Centers are also recognized by Illinois, such as those serving children three years of age 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 by IDCFS, they are not held to standards for staff to child ratios or maximum group size set by IDCFS.

Family child care provides care for groups of children in a homelike setting.

  • Licensed Family Child Care may care for up to eight children (including their own), or for up to 12 children with an assistant.
  • License-Exempt Family Child Care (such as Family, Friend and Neighbor) may care for three or fewer children (including their own), or children from one family. This care can be offered in the caregiver’s home or in the child’s home.

Source of definition: Illinois Department of Human Services

Child care data included on IECAM:

In addition, IECAM provides data on IDHS’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), as well as other early care and education programs such as Head Start and Preschool for All.