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EIU Child Care Resource and Referral

Quality Initiatives

The Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS)

ExceleRate Illinois is the quality recognition and improvement system that gives early learning and development programs the framework to make continuous quality improvements and gain recognition for their quality achievements. It also provides standards, guidelines, best practices, benchmarks and resources that they need to support children effectively in quality settings.

ExceleRate is a comprehensive system that includes licensed childcare centers, Preschool for All programs, Head Start programs, and licensed family child care homes. It is administered through Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies under the joint direction of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education. To be eligible, DCFS-licensed child care programs will need to be licensed for one year and have attended an ExceleRate Illinois orientation (other eligibility may be required). Please check our training calendar for the next available ExceleRate orientation and trainings.

To learn more about this program and opportunities, clickExceleRateIL

The Quality Specialist, Lori Rothrock is available to assist providers in this process. This may include specialized training, technical assistance in using the assessment tools, as well as other services as requested by the provider.  They work closely with the consultant team which includes the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant and the Infant-Toddler Child Care Specialist.


Program Administration Scale Training

Business Administration Scale training

Gateways: ExceleRate IL trainings


Quality Improvement Funds

Based on available funding, EIU CCR&R offers funds to support continuous quality improvement for child care programs. Quality Improvement Funds are designed to assist child care programs to improve program quality and achieve/advance an ExceleRate™ Illinois Circle of Quality. Funds are provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).

QI Funds can assist child care programs with:

  • Achieving a Bronze, Silver or Gold Circle of Quality
  • Achieving National Accreditation
  • Advancing to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Circle of Quality
  • Maintaining a Silver or Gold Circle of Quality

Quality Improvement Funds Application-FY24


Higher Education Navigator

If you work or have worked in early childhood education and you are seeking additional credentials and/or a degree in early childhood education, you may be eligible for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program.

Funds cover: tuition, fees, books, childcare, transportation. Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship (ECACE)

FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid

For more information contact Melissa Coleman, Higher Education Navigator


Local Early Childhood Higher Education Programs

Eastern Illinois University: Early Childhood Education

Eastern Illinois University: Human Service Programs

Lake Land College: Early Childhood Programs

Related Pages

Contact Information

CCR&R (Quality, Training, Referrals)

3015 Ninth Street Hall

Office Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:00 am-4:30 pm

Office Closures:

New Year Holidays, Martin L. King Birthday,
Lincoln's Birthday, Memorial Day,
Juneteenth, Independence Day,
Labor Day, Election Day,
Thanksgiving Holidays, Christmas Holidays

Child Care Assistance Program

3015 Ninth Street Hall

Summer Office Hours:

Monday -Thursday: 7:45 am to 4:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am to 12:00 pm

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