Application Deadline | Taking the Lead: A Family Child Care Initiative


Learn strategies to grow and sustain your business through this Leadership Academy. Apply to join Taking the Lead (TTL) and work alongside other family child care providers to enhance your skills as an entrepreneur and educator. Develop and implement a monthly quality improvement plan. Gain an understanding of your role as a change agent—at the individual, business, and community levels. Demonstrate competencies aligned with the Illinois Family Child Care Credential and ExceleRate™ Illinois QRIS.

Areas of focus include:

  • Advocacy, business, and environment management (Aligned with IL Gateways to Opportunity Family Child Care Credential)
  • Fiscal management, risk management, record keeping, contracts and handbooks, marketing, and family partnerships (Aligned with ExceleRate™ Illinois and the Business Administration Scale for Family Child Care)
  • Quality Improvement Plans and change management (Aligned with ExceleRate™ Illinois)



Irish American Heritage Center*
4626 N. Knox Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630

*All sessions take place at the Irish American Heritage Center unless otherwise indicated.


$120 gets you:

  • $300 program improvement funds
  • 48 hours of group learning (face-to-face) one Saturday per month (includes lunch)
  • 35 hours of independent learning (online) between November and June
  • 16 hours of self-assessment and one-on-one mentoring
  • 20 hours at Leadership Connections™ National Conference, 2-day registration with free lodging
  • Books, handouts, and materials
  • Valued at over $1,000

Note: The cost of $120 is for Illinois residents only. Out-of-state residents, please contact Barbara Volpe at or 847-947-5132.


  • Total clock hours: 119
  • Illinois Gateways for Opportunity Approved
  • Applies 6 points toward the Illinois Family Child Care Credential
  • National Louis University College credit available for an additional fee:
    • Undergraduate: 10 quarter hours

Program Dates

All meetings 8:30am to 5:30pm except Orientation (October 6: 10am-12pm)

Oct 6 | NLU, Wheeling campus
Nov 17
Dec 15

Jan 12*
Feb 9**
Mar 9
Apr 6
May 9-11 | Westin, Wheeling, IL
June 22 | NLU, Wheeling campus

*Jan 26 | Snowdate, McCormick Center
** Feb 23 | Snowdate, McCormick Center