Emergency Centers

Coronavirus Resources for Child Care Providers 

During this time as the nation continues to face challenges related to COVID-19, the Committee for Economic Development (CED) has compiled a clearinghouse of resources in an effort to help child care providers (child care homes and centers) access federal sources for support. Resources will be added to the Coronavirus Resources for Child Care Providers webpage as they become available.

The following documents may be of particular interest given the recently passed FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations & COVID Relief Act (P.L. 116-260):

Crosswalk of the New DEC EI/ECSE Standards and the Professional Standards and Competencies

For faculty teaching in early childhood special education programs, a new resource is available to support implementation of DEC’s Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators and the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. Through the Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC), a workgroup of faculty from early childhood special education programs, including representatives of NAEYC, developed a crosswalk of the two sets of standards. Faculty are encouraged to use this new resource as they consider updates to their program’s curriculum. 

Click here to access the Crosswalk.

Video: 10 Ways to Support Children’s Emotional Well-Being During COVID-19

In this short YouTube video, Child Trend's mental health expert, Jessica Dym Bartlett, discusses 10 ways for parents and caregivers to support children’s emotional well-being during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This video is based on the Child Trends resource released this past spring: Resources for Supporting Children's Emotional Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Taking Care of Ourselves: Stress & Relaxation

The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center's Taking Care of Ourselves: Stress & Relaxation webpage features resources, workshops, posters bookmarks, and exercises on stress management and self-care to support family well-being. The best way to support and care for others is to first care for ourselves, so check out these resources!

MIECHV Immunization Resources for Home Visiting Programs

The Illinois Maternal, Infant, & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) team has assembled important information for home visiting programs as a “one-stop-shop” for information programs may need as they navigate these challenging times with families.

Click here to review the information and resources for Illinois. Feel free to share information with families during virtual visits, social media, and other communications. Specifically, you may be interested in the information included towards the bottom on communicating with parents who are “vaccine hesitant” from the Immunization Action Coalition.

New NAEYC Survey: Sacrificing to Stay Open, Child Care Providers Face a Bleak Future Without Relief

The essential child care sector has sacrificed and struggled to serve children and families since the start of the COVID pandemic. NAEYC’s newest survey, completed between November 13–29, 2020, by more than 6,000 respondents working in child care centers and family child care homes shows that the crisis facing child care is as consistent and devastating today as it was in March and in July. With 56% of child care centers saying they are losing money every day that they remain open, programs are confronting an unsustainable reality, even as they are taking desperate measures - putting supplies on credit cards, drawing down personal savings, and laying off staff - to remain viable for the children and families they serve. Yet despite the steps they are taking to save themselves, the math on their bottom line does not work, and federal relief is needed to stabilize and support this essential sector.

Click here to read the Brief.

Click here for the state data from the November NAEYC Survey.

Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) is an evidence-informed program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that aims to improve early identification of developmental delays and disabilities, including autism, by increasing parent-engaged developmental monitoring so children and their families can get the early services and supports they need.  

The LTSAE website is equipped with tools and resources to help identify and address developmental concerns earlier. Your program can take part in parent education and engagement on development by utilizing the following materials:

For questions about these Learn the Signs. Act Early. resources and how to promote them in your program, please email Illinois’ Act Early Ambassadors Cari Roestel caroline.roestel@AdvocateHealth.com and/or Lori Orr Lori.A.Orr@illinois.gov.


Early Childhood-Focused Homelessness Resources 

Under the initial PDG B-5 grant, GOECD collaborated with the Illinois Early Learning Project at U of I to create a collection of homelessness resources for providers and families. The webpage contains various tip sheets, toolkits, and podcasts detailing topics such as the rights of families experiencing homelessness, food and nutrition, and family well-being. The focus of the toolkits are statewide, publicly available resources to assist both families with young children experiencing homelessness, as well as their early childhood providers. Several relevant podcasts are also available, detailing the impact of trauma on young children and the role of family voice in early childhood programs. 


Videos to Help Parents Promote Learning At Home

The Latino Policy Forum has created a short video to help parents promote early learning in their homes. The video is available in both English and Spanish.  

Additionally, the Latino Policy Forum is offering virtual workshops at no cost to those serving English Learners and their families. A description of the workshops can be found here. Those interested in attending a workshop can contact Rosario Hernandez.


Social-Emotional Toolkits for Early Childhood Providers & Leaders

GOECD, in partnership with the Illinois Pyramid Model State Leadership Team, developed Social-Emotional Toolkits early childhood providers and leaders can use to manage stressors and promote wellness during these challenging times. We shared these resources earlier in the pandemic but wanted to send them out again to support those caring for our earliest learners.

Additionally, as part of the COVID-19 Safety Reminder Campaign for child care providers, staff, and parents, click below for a one page interactive infographic highlighting the importance of self-care.

Managing COVID-19 Stress

Hacer frente al estrés provocado por la COVID-19

Social-emotional Toolkits

This continues to be a stressful time for children, families, and early care and education providers. Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 are ever-present. Children may be struggling with significant adjustments to their routines, which can interfere with their sense of security and ability to learn. Pressure on parents, caregivers, and providers can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of helplessness and frustration.  

The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD), in partnership with the Illinois Pyramid Model Statewide Leadership Team, has developed social-emotional toolkits to help manage stressors and promote wellness during these challenging times. 


Resources & Strategies to Support Children with Disabilities & Their Families During COVID-19

COVID-19 has deeply impacted early childhood programs, children and families, and their communities. This resource list, jointly created by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the Office of Head Start (OHS), and the OHS TA National Centers may be helpful when seeking guidance and resources to help leaders, services providers, teachers, support staff, children, and families during reopening and continuity of services.


U.S. Department of Education Releases Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide

The U.S. Department of Education released a new Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide, a resource to help parents and guardians understand how digital tools can provide tailored learning opportunities, engage students with course materials, encourage creative expression, and enrich the educational experience. As an increasing number of school systems implement digital learning both inside and outside of the traditional classroom, this guide demystifies digital learning for parents and empowers them to be effective advocates for high-quality digital learning.     

Parents & Providers: Please Share Your Story 

In partnership with the Funding Coalition, Illinois Action for Children is in the process of creating a storytelling campaign to highlight the critical importance of early childhood educators and providers in the lives of Illinois families, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign will be made available to sector organizations to use however is most impactful. 

The goal is to share stories that highlight the critical work of early childhood educators and providers, and the deep relationships between them and the families they serve. Your experiences and perspectives are critical for how we revitalize the early childhood education and care system in Illinois. 

  • Parents/caregivers, please share your story here.
  • Providers, please share your story here.

For All Illinoisans

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recent urgent warning to consumers and health care providers about hand sanitizer products that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. All are being advised to check the FDA webpage (which now lists 75 products to avoid) on a regular basis to stay fully informed regarding this important health issue.

For All Early Care & Education Providers

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations released The Leadership Team's Guide for Re-Opening Programs, which includes considerations for supporting programs and school staff, children, and families; considerations for classroom environments; and considerations for promoting social-emotional skills, preventing challenging behavior, and responding to children when challenging behavior occurs. 

Beat the Heat in Chicago!

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, along with officials from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS), Chicago Park District, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and other City departments and sister agencies have made significant advancements to ensure that more than 200 citywide cooling resources are available in the City's response plan to extreme-heat weather conditions.

For Child Care Centers Who Want to Offer Emergency Care to Essential Workers

Emergency Child Care will follow newly developed guidelines informed by CDC guidelines and best practices for caring for children. All persons providing care for children in an emergency setting are required to have a current background check.

Effective March 21, 2020 child care centers can apply to become an Emergency Child Care Center to continue to serve the children of essential workers during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. It is recommended that centers serve no more than 50 children per center with a maximum group size of 10 per classroom. Centers that would like to become an Emergency Child Care Center must: 

  • Click here to let the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) system know that you are offering emergency child care for children of essential workers. This way, they can connect families needing care to available care. If you are serving primarily low-income families and would like to apply for a grant to support operations:

  •  If you currently have a contract with the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services, contact them.

  • For all other programs, information will be forthcoming soon. 

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Temporary Attendance Exemption Policy and Form – 
The Illinois Department of Human Services has issued a Temporary Attendance Exemption Policy to encourage subsidized child care programs to provide services during unforeseen, extraordinary circumstances and to lessen the financial impact of those events which are beyond the control of the programs to include; licensed child care centers, licensed child care home, license-exempt centers, and license-exempt homes may apply for an attendance exemption when an extraordinary event is responsible for substantially less than normal attendance. By claiming an exemption, the provider attests staff will continue to be paid for all scheduled work hours regardless of closure or reduction in services. En Español.

In-person Provider Training

All in-person trainings scheduled through April 30, 2020, are cancelled. Registration for the Spring 2020 session has been postponed until further notice. Please visit the INCCRRA website to participate in trainings online. (A computer and internet service are required for the Gateways i-learning System.) 

If you have questions regarding provider trainings please contact us. 

Consultation, Technical Assistance, Home-Visiting, Etc.

All face-to-face outreach services, trainings, technical assistance, field visits/monitoring, and home visiting activities are discontinued until further notice. 

  • Alternative methods will be used to keep in contact and support parent and providers needing our services (i.e. online/web training, consultation service by phone, information by email). 

If you have any questions regarding consultation, training, or technical assistance, please call 773.564.8804 and leave a detailed message. An IAFC staff member will reach out to you as soon as possible. 

If you have any questions regarding home visiting services, please call 708.365.1500 and leave a detailed message. An IAFC staff member will reach out to you as soon as possible.