Early Childhood Care


IFF’s broader research and public policy work grew out of our efforts — more than two decades ago — to understand, invest in, and increase the availability of quality child care options for low-income families. No issue is closer to our hearts or speaks more directly to our mission.

Our research can help you understand the landscape for programs serving children from birth to school age. We measure the supply and demand for each program type (e.g., child care, infant and toddler care, Head Start, Early Head Start, and pre-kindergarten), analyze where the highest need for each of these services is, and can work with stakeholders to close the gaps identified.

We have conducted comprehensive needs assessments for Chicago, Detroit, and the state of Illinois; led community planning efforts around early childhood programs in more than a dozen Illinois communities; and helped develop and implement early childhood capital programs for the state of Illinois.

For more information, email or call us at 866 629 0060.


Early Childhood Needs Assessments

The Building Blocks report series was completed by IFF, with support from the Grand Victoria Foundation, to help local Illinois communities establish a strong infrastructure of community providers that deliver and support early education programs and a plan to accommodate future growth. This series outlines a set of strategies for improving and growing local early care and education capacity developed by local leaders in the general areas of:

  • Addison
  • Franklin Park and Melrose Park
  • Glendale Heights
  • Joliet
  • LaSalle County
  • Round Lake
  • West Chicago
  • Wheeling
  • Willowbrook Corner
  • Woodridge
  • Zion

View the report series.

IFF Research

The System We Need: A Neighborhood Snapshot of Early Education in Detroit

This report estimates that in 2015 nearly 28,000 of Detroit children needed but did not have access to quality early childhood care. The study compares the number of slots available at licensed and registered facilities with the number of children in need of care, and breaks down the supply-and-demand estimate by individual neighborhoods and program types.

Moving Towards A System: Preview

A preview of the full report on the Statewide Early Childhood Needs Assessment that summarizes the study’s scope, highlights findings, and provides examples of how the data can be used.

We Need More Day Care Centers

A planning tool for community organizations and government agencies, our study shows that Latina mothers want preschool child care centers in their neighborhoods.

Great Spaces, Fresh Places

Documentation of three classroom makeovers, a collaboration between IFF and The Chicago MOST Initiative.

Getting Ready: Preparing to House Your Pre-Kindergarten Program

An interactive, online tool to help applicants for ISBE pre-kindergarten grants plan ahead for housing their program. In three steps, the tool will help an organization assess its space needs, evaluate the fit of any facility with its program goals, and identify any renovation or modification needs.

The Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Illinois

A study conducted by the National Economic Development and Law Center, and reported by IFF, Action for Children and Chicago Metropolis 2020. This report demonstrates for the first time the direct economic benefits of the early care and education industry as well as its long-term impact on the Illinois economy.