Higher Education Programs


Becoming Entitled for the Family Child Care Credential

The Gateways to Opportunity Family Child Care (FCC) Credential is designed for family child care providers in Illinois. It highlights the unique educational needs of the family child care environment. In addition to the seven Gateways Content Areas, the Family Child Care Credential includes three additional areas specific to family child care:

  • Business
  • Family Child Care Environment Management
  • Leadership & Advocacy

The FCC Credential provides professional recognition of achievements and commitments beyond state licensing standards as well as demonstrating knowledge and experience needed to provide high quality family child care.

Family Child Care Credential


Student/Workforce Potential

Illinois has one of the largest workforce populations of licensed family child care providers in the nation (Child Care Aware, 2015 data).  Currently, there are around 9,000 Illinois Department of Children and Family Services licensed family child care providers.  Licensed family child care demographics show a richness in diversity, similar to families in Illinois. In addition, there are approximately 75,000 license exempt family child care providers in Illinois (who receive child care assistance payments based on FY15 data) who could be an audience for this credential.  There is currently insufficient coursework that leads to the Gateways Family Child Care Credential to meet the needs of family child care providers throughout the state.

Obtaining a Family Child Care Credential Level 2 or higher meets the Health, Safety and Child Development Training requirements issued by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) for providers receiving Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) payments.

Excelerate Program

ExceleRate Illinois helps you prepare children for success in school and in life.

It also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help you make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes for children.