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Learn how to locate and evaluate childcare. Discover after school programs sponsored by the City of Chicago and non for profit groups.

City of Chicago: Family & Support Services

The Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS) is dedicated to supporting a continuum of coordinated services to enhance the lives of Chicago residents, particularly those most in need, from birth through the senior years. The department works to promote the independence and well-being of individuals, support families and strengthen neighborhoods by providing direct assistance and administering resources to a network of community-based organizations, social service providers and institutions.


Children’s Services


Youth Services


Overview off all of the department’s services for 2015



Community Service Center Location

The Chicago Department of Family & Support Services’ (DFSS) six Community Service Centers are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. City residents who need assistance can drop in or schedule an appointment in advance. Visitors participate in an initial assessment to identify their needs. DFSS Community Service Centers help individuals and families in need access a wide range of resources from shelter, food and clothing to domestic violence assistance, job training/placement and services for the formerly incarcerated. Clients can also get information about rental, utility and other financial assistance programs. The facilities serve as Warming and Cooling Centers during periods of extreme weather. 


Englewood Center
1140 W. 79th Street
Chicago, IL 60620

Garfield Center
10 S. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60612

King Center
4314 S. Cottage Grove
Chicago, IL 60653

North Area
845 W. Wilson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

South Chicago
8650 S. Commercial Ave.
Chicago, IL 60617

Trina Davila
4357 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639


For more information on services, contact your local Community Service Center, or call 311.



DHS' Child Care Assistance Program

This program provides low-income, working families with access to quality, affordable child care that allows them to continue working and contributes to the healthy, emotional and social development of the child. Families are required to cost-share on a sliding scale based on family size, income and number of children in care.

  • Migrant Head Start office provides child care and a comprehensive program of health, parent involvement, and social services for preschool children (under 6 years of age) of low-income migrant and seasonal farm workers. 

  • Head Start State Collaboration office is a federal-state partnership organized to support and encourage collaboration with Head Start and various other state and local stakeholders that serve low-income families with young children. 

  • Healthy Child Care Illinois provides a network of registered nurses who help child care workers provide quality care for the well-being of Illinois children.

  • Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) assists Illinois child care programs in providing quality care for children and their families. A provider's voluntary participation in QRS means they have gone the extra mile to help make sure children are receiving an enhanced learning and care experience, which can help children succeed in school and in life. Providers caring for children eligible for the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) also receive a quality bonus above the standard payment rate.


The Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) is a statewide organization which – in partnership with its 16 local Child Care Resources and Referral (CCR&R) agencies – is a recognized leader, catalyst and resource for making high quality, affordable early care and education and school-age care options available for children and families in Illinois.


Action for Children/Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
Action for Children provides thousands of families in Cook County with resources and referrals to help them find quality child care and early education programs in their communities.  To get in touch with Action for Children, call 312-823-1100, or visit their website at


Child Care Aware© is the nation's most respected hub of information for parents and child care providers. A program of Child Care Aware® of America, Child Care Aware® helps families learn more about the elements of quality child care and how to locate programs in their communities.


UIC Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) has 13 regional offices across the state where care coordinators are available to assist families with medically eligible children (birth to age 21 years) access needed specialty services. The Core Program is the major focus of DSCC and offers care coordination and cost-supported diagnosis and treatment for children with chronic health impairments determined eligible for program support. The Home Care Program offers coordination and support for in-home medical care of technology-dependent children who would otherwise have to remain in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The Children's Habilitation Clinic, located on the west campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, within the Children and Adolescent Section of the Out-Patient Center, provides comprehensive diagnostic services to children with complex disabling conditions and provides ongoing rehabilitation and developmental management to those children to age 21. For more information about these programs, call 1-800-322-3722 or visit UIC Division of Specialized Care for Children Web site.


Illinois STARNET  provides a variety of opportunities for personal and professional growth for those who touch the lives of young children, ages birth through eight, with an emphasis on children with special needs. STARNET supports family-centered, researched, and effective practices in early childhood education and care.

Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center

Assists families and youths in crisis. Services focus on housing, relationships, homeless youth, youth needing family intervention, and counseling.


Illinois Benefits Planning Projects City of Chicago

Works with the City of Chicago’s Mayoral office for citizens with disabilities to develop programs to match peer groups of children with appropriate social, recreational, and educational programs.

(312) 746-5743


Developmental Disabilities Family Clinic

As a part of the UIC Department of Disability and Human Development, this clinic provides comprehensive assessment and treatment services for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities.

The National Lekotek Center

Provides family play centers and toy lending libraries to improve the lives of children with special needs through the utilization of toys and play.


Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD)

Organized by parents, professionals, and volunteers, FRCD operates a federally funded Parent Center that provides information, training and support services.



Locating Quality Care

When you choose a child care home or center, be sure it's everything that you expect or want for you and your child.

  • Is the environment safe and clean?

  • Is the child care provider loving and confident with the children?

  • Does the provider serve healthy meals and snacks?

These questions and so many more come to mind when we leave our children with a "stranger" that has been entrusted to care for our children in our absence.

  • Our baby safety checklist will help make sure your child will get the care he or she needs.

  • What every child needs provides ideal conditions to assure your child gets the advantage he or she needs for a long, healthy adult life.


The Affordable Child Care brochure explains the IDHS CCAP (Illinois Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program) and gives a brief description of who might qualify, and lists the address and phone numbers to Child Care Resource and Referral agencies throughout the state where you might apply for child care assistance.





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