Quality Improvement Grant Opportunities

Quality Improvement Funds

Illinois is committed to assisting child care providers in providing quality education and care for young children (birth through 12 years). Quality Improvement Funds are available to support continued quality improvement for child care programs. These funds are designed to assist child care programs in improving program quality and achieve or advance an ExceleRate Illinois Circle of Quality. Quality Improvement Funds are based on available funding. The Quality Improvement Funds program is administered by the Child Care Resource & Referral of Midwestern Illinois. Funds are provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The Quality Improvement Funds are divided into three areas:

Quality Rating & Improvement System Cohorts    

The child care resource and referral programs offer cohort groups for programs working towards or maintaining an ExceleRate Illinois Circle of Quality. Cohorts will be led by CCR&R staff. The program administrator responsible for the on-site day to day operations of the child care program is required to attend the cohort. Upon completion of the cohort requirements and the program's self-assessment, programs may request funds to help achieve Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (CQIP) objectives. 

Training Stipend

Licensed child care programs working towards/maintaining an ExceleRate Illinois Circle of Quality may apply for an ExceleRate Illinois training stipend. The stipend is available for the ExceleRate Illinois Circle of Quality required training.

Accreditation Assistance 

Accreditation is a voluntary process that provides child care programs the opportunity to examine their services based on recognized standards of high quality. The Accreditation Assistance option is for child care programs that are applying/maintaining an ExceleRate Illinois Silver or Gold Circle of Quality.

Basic Eligibility for Quality Improvement Funds:

  1.  Program must be listed on the local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) provider database
  2. Must currently be providing child care services in Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Rock Island, or Warren counties
  3. Provider/Staff must be a current member of the IL Gateways Registry
  4. Have no unpaid financial obligation to CCR&R agency or IDHS Bureau of Subsidy Management or Bureau of Quality Initiatives

Priority Programs:

  1. Programs currently caring for children whose care is paid for by the IDHS CCAP, with greater priority given to those with 50% or more of their enrollment consisting of IDHS CCAP funded children  
  2. Programs that are full year (at least 47 weeks)/full day (at least 8 hours) 
  3. Programs that are currently caring for infants and toddlers
  4. For ExceleRate IL Cohort – first time applicant programs are a priority for cohort participation 
  5. Programs that have not recieved QI Funds in the last two grant years (FY20 or FY19)


Guidelines and Applications

Questions about Quality Improvement Grant Funds?

Contact McKenzie Brotherton, Training & Technical Assistance Coordinator, at mbrotherton@salcommunityservices.org or by phone at 309-205-3070 ext. 4010.

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Individual Professional Development Funds

Individual child care practitioners working to continue their own professional development in early care and education or school age care may be eligible for Individual Professional Development Funds to help with the costs associated with training and professional development. Learn more here

Find Your Local CCR&R

Looking for the Child Care Resource & Referral agency that serves your county? CCR&R services are available in all Illinois communities. Find the office that serves your community here


Smart Start Transition Grants

The Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood is excited to announce Smart Start Transition Grants. These grants will be administarted by INCCRRA and will transition licensed child care programs from the Strength and Grow Child Care grants to Smart Start Child Care in the future. Smart Start Transition Grants focus on providing stable and predictable funding in order to improve quality and support workforce development. Learn more here.