4-C: Community Coordinated Child Care

Choosing Quality Child Care

Daycare provider and child coloring and having fun together

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.  Play gives children the opportunity to develop their language, social, emotional, physical, and thinking skills.  Early Math, problem solving, and reading readiness skills, are just a few things learned through play.  Look for a provider who focuses on all aspects of your child’s development.


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 developmental needs.  A quality child care provider is also prepared with written policies and procedures regarding their program.  Request a provider’s qualifications, references, and written policies/procedures to learn more about their child care experience and program attributes.

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.  Open communication practices allow families to feel connected and informed about their child’s day.  Look for a provider who is enthusiastic, attentive, encouraging, and who communicates openly with you.

Program Quality

All licensed child care programs are part of the ExceleRate® Illinois Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS).  Programs can earn a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Circle of Quality or a national accreditation award by meeting voluntary standards for quality child care that are higher than the state licensing requirements.  Ask the provider if their program has an ExceleRate® Illinois Circle of Quality or is accredited.


A quality child care environment is safe, clean and provides children with many learning opportunities.  Look for a setting where the children are supervised at all times, nutritious meals and snacks are served, toys and learning activities are based on the age of the child and where children’s development and learning are regularly assessed.

Financial Assistance

The Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides financial help for Illinois families who meet income and work or education/training requirements.