What is INCCRRA?

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.

What statewide systems and services does INCCRRA provide?

Gateways to Opportunity

Gateways to Opportunity is a statewide professional development support system designed to provide guidance, encouragement, and recognition to individuals and programs serving children, youth, and families. Resources and services provided by Gateways to Opportunity include Credentials, Professional Development Advisors, Great START, Gateways to Opportunity Registry, the Illinois Trainers Network, and Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Gateways Registry

Gateways Registry membership offers a way to track training and education online, and meets Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) licensing requirements.


Great START (Strategy to Attract and Retain Teachers) is a wage supplement program that rewards eligible early care and education and school-age care practitioners for receiving higher education and for remaining at their current place of employment.

Gateways Scholarship Program

The Gateways Scholarship Program is an individual-based scholarship opportunity for practitioners working in Early Care and Education (ECE) or school-age care.

The Gateways Scholarship Program will pay a percentage of the cost of tuition and fees based on an eligible participant’s child care position income.

Illinois Trainers Network

Illinois Trainers Network (ITN) provides opportunities for early care and school-age practitioners and educators to pursue professional development through high quality and accessible trainings. All legally operating early child care and education and school-age programs in Illinois have access to ITN services. ITN trainings are scheduled through your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency.

ExceleRate Illinois

ExceleRate Illinois is a quality rating and improvement system for licensed child care, Preschool for All/Prevention Initiative and, Head Start/Early Head Start programs. The system gives programs a process for pursuing quality efforts that will help them learn more, do better and improve developmental skills among the children they impact.

Quality Counts – Quality Rating System

The Quality Counts – Quality Rating System (QRS) assists licensed exempt family child care providers in providing quality care for children and their families. Once a child care provider has met criteria required, they will be recognized for their achievement.

Birth to Five Illinois

Birth to Five Illinois is a statewide effort that will bring community members in the 39 regions together to address early childhood needs. They believe in the power of parent and family voices and ensure that underserved communities receive priority services and funding for early care and education. 

Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R)

INCCRRA provides professional development, technical assistance and training opportunities to the 900 CCR&R staff across the state.

Child Care Data & Research

INCCRRA collects, maintains and reports statistical information related to child care supply, demand and quality across the state. Information is provided to state government, community planners, policy makers and human service organizations to help identify and address the child care needs of Illinois children and families.