Am I eligible for Great START?


Can you answer "yes" to the questions below?

  1. Do you care for Illinois Children?
  2. Are you employed by an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) licensed program?
  3. Do you work in one of the following positions?
    • Center Staff: Director, Assistant Director, Teacher, Assistant Teacher, School-Age Teacher, School-Age Assistant OR
    • Family Child Care: Family Child Care Provider, Family Child Care Assistant, Group Home Provider, Group Home Assistant
  4. Have you worked at either the same place of employment for at least one continuous year or by a program that holds a current ExceleRate Illinois Silver or Gold Circle of Quality for at least six months?
  5. Do you average at least 15 hours of work per week?
  6. Do you earn $24.00 per hour or less and $49,920.00 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 should apply. If you are not yet ready to apply, 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.