Quality Improvement

ExceleRate Illinois

Several years ago the State of Illinois set an ambitious education goal to increase the number of state residents with high quality, industry recognized degrees and credentials.   The Governor’s Office successfully received federal dollars to be able to connect early childhood programs to quality opportunities.

Research has proven that the ingredients for success need to be added to a person’s life…..at the beginning…..  through quality interactions in the early years.  With this in mind, Illinois launched the Quality Recognition and Improvement System called ExceleRate Illinois.

ExceleRate Illinois provides a framework for licensed child care programs to make continuous quality improvements and gain recognition for their quality achievements.  It also provides programs with the knowledge, best practices, benchmarks, and resources that they need to effectively support children in quality settings.

ExceleRate™ Illinois helps caregivers learn more, do better and improve developmental skills among the children they impact.

  • ExceleRate™ also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help caregivers make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes.
  • ExceleRate™ is a comprehensive system that includes licensed child care centers, Preschool for All programs, Head Start programs, and licensed family child care homes.
  • ExceleRate™ is administered through INCCRRA 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.
  • DCFS licensed child care programs need to be licensed for one year and have attended an ExceleRate™ orientation in order to take part in all that the program has to offer.
  • Check the WCCCC training calendar for the next available ExceleRate™ orientation or view it online.
  • Explore all the opportunities, visit ExceleRate Illinois’s website today!

Gateways Training Tiers

The Gateways Training Tiers assists Illinois child care providers in providing quality care for children and their families.

  • This opportunity is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). Participation is voluntary and is available to any Illinois child care provider, teacher, and assistant. The Training Tiers represent a quality improvement system for Illinois license exempt family child care providers.
  • Providers do not need to be serving children eligible for the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) in order to participate.
  • Gateways Training Tiers are categorized in three Tiers. Specific quality criteria must be met to achieve each tier. Upon completion of all three training tiers, a provider receives a Gateways ECE credential level 1.
  • License exempt family child care providers that complete the specified training are eligible to receive additional compensation if caring for children eligible for the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
  • Interested providers can attend a free Gateways Training Tier Orientation offered by West Central Child Care Connection. Completion of the Orientation is required for any provider who applies to Gateways Training Tiers. The Orientation and training tier modules are also available online at inccrra.org.
  • Check the WCCCC training calendar for training dates, times, and locations. You may also contact our Quality Specialist for more information or assistance with the process by calling our office or emailing to deana@wcccc.com.
  • The application process for the Gateways Training Tiers is administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA).

You can email INCCRRA at credentials@ilgateways.com.

Quality Improvement Funds

The Quality Improvement Funds grant program is provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to support continued quality improvement for child care programs. Quality Improvement Funds are designed to assist child care programs in working towards/maintaining an ExceleRate™ Illinois Circle of Quality.

To find out more about the opportunities available and to download an application, please click here:

                                     Funding for Fiscal Year 2024 has been completed.  New information for Fiscal Year 2025 will be added as soon as it is available!

Please contact Robin for any further information. (217) 222-2550 or 1-800-782-7318 or robin@wcccc.com