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Articles Tagged with Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

A Group Day Care Home is “a family home which receives more than 3 up to 16 children for less than 24 hours per day.” Illinois administrative code Part 408 (Licensing Standards for Group Day Care Homes), sets out the standards for licensure as a day care home and describes how to apply for a license. A group day care home license is valid for three years and must be displayed in the home at all times. This license will tell you the caregiver’s name, how many children can be cared for in the home, what areas of the home can be used for child care, and whether night care can be provided.


The caregiver must be at least 21 years old. Only persons 18 years of age or old can transport children. A full-time assistant must be at least 18 years old. Any assistants under 18 years of age, must be directly and personally supervised by the caregiver at all times. Part-time assistants must be at least 14 years old and 5 years older than the oldest child they supervise. There may be a substitute caregiver (over the age of 21) for up to 25 hours per month and for an additional two weeks in a 12-month period.

Child to Staff Ratios

No group day care home operator may care for more than a total of 16 children, including the caregiver’s own children under age 12.

A caregiver alone may care for:

  • Up to eight total children under 12 years of age, with no more than five under 5 years old and no more than three under 24 months, or
  • Up to eight total children under 12 years of age, with no more than six under 5 years old and no more than two under 30 months, or
  • Up to eight pre-school children if no child is under 3 years old, or
  • Up to twelve school age children.

A caregiver and an 18 year old assistant may care for:

  • Up to a total of twelve children between 3 and 6 years old, or
  • Up to a total of twelve children under 6 years old, with no more than six under 30 months and no more than four under 15 months.

A caregiver and a part-time assistant may care for:

  • Four additional children who attend school full-time before and/or after school.

Background Checks

The caregiver, assistants, and any other adult member of the household are subject to background checks to look for any record of criminal conviction or child abuse and neglect. If the caregiver has children 13 years of age or older, they too are subject to background checks for child abuse and neglect.


The caregiver must have achieved at least one year of credit (30 semester hours) from an accredited college or one year prior work experience in a nursery school, kindergarten, licensed day care center in addition to six semester hours in child care/child development course work from an accredited college. The caregiver must have a current Child Development Credential in lieu of college credits or work experience. Every year, caregivers must complete 15 hours of in-service training. At least one person certified in first aid, including CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, must be present at all times during hours of operation.


DCFS inspects group homes every year to ensure that they meet licensing standards. A DCFS investigator will conduct a complaint investigation for any complaint regarding violation of the licensing standards. Any suspected child abuse and neglect must be immediately reported to DCFS.

Health and Safety Requirements

There are extensive safety requirements for group day care homes including: a first aid kid, fire extinguisher and flashlight in working order, protective coverings on electrical outlets, at least one smoke detector on each floor of the home, barriers or partitions blocking children from accessing fixed space heaters, fireplaces, or radiators, plans for emergency evacuation, working telephone on premises, cold and hot running water, sanitary and clean environment, clear exit doors, chemicals and hazardous materials stored out of reach of children, and fire and tornado drills.

There are also health and sanitation requirements including: food must be served to children from separate dishes, leftovers from each dish must be discarded, hand washing after diaper changes, household pets must be healthy and inoculated for rabies, and no smoking tobacco in any area of group home while children present, facility must have on file a medical report indicating the child has appropriate immunizations, emergency plan for each child in case of accident or illness.

There are also requirements on night care with regard to baths, sleeping arrangements, beds and cribs, beds, evening meals, breakfast, and having the caregiver sleep on the same floor as the children within hearing distance. The facility must provide 1/3 to 2/3 of the daily nutritional requirements depending on the length of time and time of day of the child’s stay.

Child Development

The group day care home must provide a balance of active and quiet play both inside and outside. The children must also be provided with a variety of age appropriate materials and equipment. School age children must have a designated area that is separate from younger children, so they do not interfere with the care of younger children. In addition, only an adult caregiver may discipline children.

Parent Communication and Involvement

Parents are encouraged to discuss any concerns directly with the caregivers. In most cases, this can resolve any issues.  However, if you are unable to resolve your issue with a caregiver, you may contact the local DCFS office in order to file a complaint. Parents must ensure that they provide caregivers with up to date emergency contact information and written permission for other people to be in charge of picking up their children.

Attorneys Willing to Fight For Your Child’s Legal Rights

Unfortunately, despite all of the regulations that accompanies child care is not enough to eliminate instances of mistreatment and abuse. A attorneys who represent children in cases of abuse and neglect, we vow to hold wrongdoers fully accountable for their acts. We have experience prosecuting these cases and are willing to do what it takes to get justice. (888) 424-5757

In many personal injury cases establishing a that party is at negligent can be done generally by establishing that the party deviated from the standard of care in the community or by demonstrating that a party failed to abide by a code or ordinance applicable to the facility.  When it comes to ordinances, it is important to determine the applicability of the ordinance to the facility.

Regulation and licensing of child care is primarily the responsibility of individual States. The federal government does regulate child care, but federal law only requires that states regulate child care in three areas in order to protect the health and safety of children:

  • The prevention and control of infectious disease
  • Building and physical premise safety
  • Health and safety training appropriate to the program setting

As a result, regulations relating to the health and safety of children in out-of-home child care programs vary wildly from state to state (licensing, child to staff ratios, background checks, training, inspections, health and safety requirements, child development, parent communication and involvement). (State licensing requirements)

These discrepancies mean that some states have more stringent regulations than others do, which means that children in different states are receiving different levels of protection. It is important that the federal government implement more specific requirements for state regulation of child care, so that important issues such as comprehensive background checks are required in every state.

Age Groups

Developmental Stage Age Functional Definition
Infant 0-12 months Birth to ambulation
Toddler 13-35 months Ambulation to accomplishment of self-care routines such as use of the toilet
Pre-schooler 36-50 months From achievement of self-care routine to entry into regular school
School-Age Child 5-12 years Entry into regular school, including kindergarten through 6th grade

Illinois Laws Applicable to Child Care & Day Care Facilities

In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is in charge of setting standards and licensing child care centers, homes, group homes, and day care agencies in the state (Illinois child care Rules). In 2007, Illinois had 2,907 licensed day care centers, 10,050 licensed day care homes, and 473 group day care homes with the combined capacity to serve more than 295 thousand children. (Illinois Daycare Listings)

The Illinois Child Care Act of 1969 (225 ILCS 10) includes licensure requirements, standards, background checks, and responsibilities for child care facilities and institutions (Child Care Act Study Guide). However, the State licensing standards are minimum standards, put in place to protect your children. It stands to reason that child care centers and homes that strive to provide facilities and services that offer more than just the minimum, will also offer better environments for your children. (See “Day Care Worker Leaves Children Unattended in Gym – Situation Demonstrates the Need for More Regulation of Child Care in Alternative Settings”)

Illinois has specific licensing standards for day care homes, day care centers, and group day care homes. These rules are set forth in the Illinois Administrative Code:

Of course many provisions in the Illinois Code (and similar codes in other states) are anything but enjoyable to read– hopefully you never will.  However, it is important to realize that there are many provisions of state law that are available to you should the need arise.  Having a complete understanding the the applicable law remains an essential part of the prosecution of any injury stemming from poor care at a child care facility or institution.

Chicago day care injury lawyers working to secure your child’s future

We are Day Care Injury Lawyers in Chicago who prosecute negligent facilities in situations where a child was injured or abused while under the care of a day care center or child care provider.  We offer free consultations and never charge a fee without a recovery for injured child.