Chicago dept. of family & support services

children services division

The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Children Services Division (CSD) is dedicated to strengthening the lives of Chicago Children, Families, and Communities.

We manage Chicago Early Learning (CEL) programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, Preschool For All (PFA), and Prevention Initiative (PI) throughout Chicago particularly those most in need from birth to five years of age.

CSD Updates

Get the latest CSD-related news and updated resources here.

CSD CARES Service Now Ticketing Guide

Agency Staff Only: If you are having trouble with CSD CARES and need support, please make sure you submit a ticket directly through the system. Included are steps on how agencies can submit a support ticket when needed.

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Recruitment Corner for CBO's!

Families with children up to age five can still apply for a Chicago Early Learning Program! Within 48 hours of submitting their child's application, they should receive placement notifications at the email used for their guardian login. They can accept their offer online by logging into their account at, recommend accepting families accept their offers as soon as possible, even if they are waitlisted for a program they ranked higher.

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How the Chicago Early Learning Application Process Works

Are you ready to apply for a high-quality early-learning program? Learn about the process on our How to Apply Page or call our Family Support Hotline at 312-229-1690 with your questions.

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content areas

Each Head Start content area is a building block that ensures the highest level of quality in every Head Start classroom across the city. Find the latest regulation updates, trainings, resources and more.

Safety Practices


Family & Community Engagement


Mental Health


Data Management




Program Management & Quality Improvement

Collaborative Governance