Policy Resource

Illinois Develops Online Portal to Support Family Child Care Professionals

Mar 6, 2019

Town Square connects FCC professionals to resources to help them provide high quality care and encourages peer-to-peer sharing through a member-only area. Resources are provided in a variety of formats (videos, modules, webinars, reports, blog articles, activity sheets, and handouts) and focus on topics such as child development, best practices in FCC, running a small business, and wellness.

There are 7,900 licensed family child care (FCC) providers in Illinois and many more who are license-exempt. Recognizing that these professionals are often isolated and have unique challenges, Illinois developed an online portal specifically for FCC providers. Town Square connects FCC professionals to resources to help them provide high quality care and encourages peer-to-peer sharing through a member-only area. Resources are provided in a variety of formats (videos, modules, webinars, reports, blog articles, activity sheets, and handouts) and focus on topics such as child development, best practices in FCC, running a small business, and wellness. Numerous developmentally appropriate activities are provided, and members have access to a “corkboard” that allows them to collect and save ideas and resources that they can access later. The corkboard also allows members to share their own stories, set personal goals, and set up a personal profile that will automatically connect their Town Square professional development to the Illinois Gateways Registry. Town Square also includes family child care provider created or submitted content including blog posts, videos, resources, and content expertise on professional development offerings.

Illinois contracted with the Erikson Institute to develop the website and funding originated from the state’s Early Learning Challenge grant. As of spring of 2019, the site has 1050 registered users and over 200 resources posted.

Reviewed March 2019