A Steady Decline of Licensed Childcare

Did you know that DCFS historically published the number of licensed centers that had closed over time? These reports used to be made public and shared to make sure that the information could be used by everyone; however, DCFS no longer publishes this information, possibly because the report is not one to be proud of.

These reports were shared in the DCFS Daycare Licensing Annual Report. The FY 2018 report can be viewed below using the link.


According to this report, there were 10,262 licensed daycare facilities in the state of Illinois as of June 30, 2018. The report also mentioned that since 2015, there was a decrease of 1,555 licensed childcare facilities over the 3 years. This means that on average around 500 childcare facilities closed each year.

This information is invaluable to showing the hardships that programs are facing. We have been sounding the alarm for years that childcare programs are closing their doors (mainly due to lack of staffing), and the state has the reports to prove this.

However, the question becomes – where has this information been from 2018 to the current year? Why are we not seeing those reports?

If you were on the DCFS Advisory Council Meeting last week, they shared some information in regards to lead testing in water in the state. They shared a graphic that we used to make our own report.

According to the final line on this chart, on the date of this report there were 8,235 licensed childcare facilities in the state of Illinois.

This means that since 2018, 2,027 licensed childcare centers have closed their doors. Assuming this report was done at the end of 2021, this would mean that on average 675 licensed childcare facilities per year have closed their doors.

Why isn’t this information being made public? Why are these reports not being used in the Illinois General Assembly to help guide policy-making to prevent this issue from continuing to occur?

ILDOCC intends to find out. If these reports are still completed annually by DCFS, we want to ensure that the information is being shared publicly and that everyone has access to it. If DCFS is not creating these reports yearly, we need to make sure they start!!

The problem is steadily getting worse, and the data proves this. An additional 175 centers per year closed from the first report to this new information.

We are not improving in the state of Illinois. The “daycare deserts”are steadily increasing across the state, and if this information was shared by DCFS with the Governor’s Office and the Illinois General Assembly, they might finally begin to realize just how bad things are.

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