Am I eligible for Great START?


If you can answer "yes" to multiple questions below, you may be on the right track!

  1. Do you care for Illinois Children?
  2. Are you employed by a program that is Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) licensed, has been open at least one year and operates full-day and full-year?
  3. Do you work in one of the following positions?
    • Center Staff: Director, Assistant Director, Teacher, Assistant Teacher, School-Age Teacher, School-Age Assistant
    • Family Child Care: Family Child Care Provider, Family Child Care Assistant, Group Home Provider, Group Home Assistant
  4. Have you been employed by the same place of employment for at least one continuous year?
  5. Do you average at least 15 hours of work per week?
  6. Do you earn $15.00 per hour or less and $31,200.00 per year or less?
  7. Are you a US citizen or a legal resident?
  8. Does your education level match your position on the Wage Supplement Scale? Look at the Wage Supplement Scale, find your level of education in the education column, then see if your position is listed in the eligibility column.

Answering "yes" does not guarantee you will receive a wage supplement, but it is an indication that you are on the right track. Take a look at the Great START FAQs for answers to common questions. If you still have questions about your specific situation, contact us. We can answer your questions and help you through the process.


Excelerate Program

ExceleRate Illinois helps you prepare children for success in school and in life.

It also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help you make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes for children.