Resources for Providers

COVID-19 Resources for Child Care Providers

Closure of Illinois Child Care Programs Effective 3/21/2020

In response to the unprecedented public health emergency that Illinois is facing as a result of the spread of COVID-19, Governor Pritzker has mandated the following closures for child care centers, child care homes, and early education programs across the state:

• Effective March 21, 2020 all child care centers licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as legally license-exempt centers outside of schools.

• Effective March 21, 2020 all child care homes licensed by DCFS. (See Guidance Documents below regarding child care homes ability to operate as legally licensed exempt homes.)

• Early education programs in public and private schools are required to remain closed while the K-12 schools are closed. This mandate covers any early childhood program for children ages birth through five located in public schools or in private schools.

The State is mindful that child care is a critical emergency service that is necessary for essential workers currently required to work to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Illinois. For this reason, effective March 21, 2020 and for as long as the public health emergency continues, emergency child care will be available to essential workers in both homes and centers.

The Department of Children and Family Services will be accepting applications for emergency child care sites for the continuance of child care services for the children of critical emergency workers to apply for an Emergency Child Care License. 

Additional information can be found in the documents below:

Quick Reference of Rules for Emergency Child Care Centers

GOECD: Child Care Closures-A Letter to Families

State of Illinois Definitions of Essential Workers

Guidance for Completing Child Care Payment Certificates During the COVID-19 Crisis


Child Care Certificates

  • Providers should enter the actual attended days on the certificate.
  • Centers and Licensed home providers need to include the COVID-19 Attendance Exemption Form with all Certificates to be paid 100% eligible days if they are closed or their attendance is less than 20% of expected.
  • The COVID-19 Attendance Exemption Form is not required for license-exempt home providers.
    • This applies only to home providers who held the distinction of license exempt prior to the closure. Homes that held a DCFS child care license prior to closure must submit this form to be paid 100% eligible days.

IVR Telephone Billing System

  • Providers entering payment information through the IVR Telephone Billing System should enter 100% of their eligible days.
  •  After entry of the payment on the IVR, licensed home providers will need to send the COVID-19 Attendance Exemption Form to the CCR&R for each applicable month that they were not providing care or attendance is less than 20% of expected.
  • Providers who cared for school aged children and need adjustments to their approved days (from part time to full time payment), should enter 100% of their eligible days. 
  • After entry of the eligible days, licensed providers (including homes licensed by DCFS prior to the closure) requesting approval of a supplemental payment will need to send the COVID-19 Attendace Exemption Form, along with copies of their certificates entered into the IVR Telephone Billing System, to CCR&R for supplmental payment. License-exempt providers (as designated prior to closure) need only send their certificates for a supplemental payment.
  • Providers who are caring for children of Essential Workers who are still working and need more care than approved should:
    • Enter 100% of Eligible Days through IVR.
    • Complete and submit the Certificate and the COVID-19 Attendance Exemption Form

Information and Forms for the Emergency Child Care Stipend Program:

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is offering a one-time stipend to assist child care programs that opt to open and provide child care for the children of Essential Workers.These services should be provided ONLY when Essential Workers have no other option available. The goal is to practice social distancing and for children to stay at home whenever possible. 

Who Qualifies?

  • Child care programs operating under the COVID Executive Order No 8, including licensed child care centers, license-exempt child care centers, and formerly licensed family child care homes.
  • Child care centers must have applied for and received Emergency license from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
  • Child care programs MUST be registered on the Early Learning Helpline 
  • Must currently be serving children of Essential Workers to apply

Submit all applications to

For more detailed information and a list of FAQ's refer to the below documents: 

Child Care Assistance Program COVID-19 Policy Updates

IDHS/CCAP has been informed that for as long as the COVID emergency declaration is in effect for Illinois, IDHS/CCAP will waive the second paragraph of procedures in CCAP Policy 06.05.01 that providers may not charge CCAP families more than private pay families.   

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Temporary Attendance Exemption

Licensed and license-exempt child care programs paid through the certificate program or site administered prorams are eligible to receive an attendance exemption to less the financial impact of certain events which are beyond the control of the program. To receive this exemption, providers should complete the COVID-19 ATTENDANCE EXEMPTION FROM submit it with their monthly billing certificates to the their local Child Care Resource & Referral office. See the full policy and the "COVID-19 Attendance Exemption Form" for further details.

Additional Information from the Illinois Department of Human Services regarding COVID-19 and the Child Care Assistance Program:

(Note: Due to the "Shelter in Place" mandate and subsequent closure of all child care with the exception of emergency child care sites, some information from this document has changed.)

Additional Resources

Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development Website: Up to date information from OECD regarding COVID-19 safety precautions, news, and updates from state agencies.