Illinois Child Care Assistance reached a total of 108,314 children in Cook County in March 2004. Cook County accounted for 62.4 percent of all families served by the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program. The Program grew rapidly after welfare reform in 1997, and several years of data now let us look at some trends that have developed. This report focuses on trends in types of subsidized child care used by Cook County children in the Child Care Assistance Program. It generally divides the children into three age groups:
- Birth through two years old
- Three through five
- Six and older
The report follows data for active child care cases in Cook County for nearly seven years, from July 1997 to March 2004, as provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services. For some issues data were not available for all of those years. The report divides types of care into two groups: licensed programs (both centers and homes) and license-exempt homes.2
For some of the analysis, Cook County children in license-exempt centers, only about five percent of the total, are left out so that we can highlight the difference between the much large sectors of licensed programs and license-exempt homes.