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.

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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Chicago Early Learning Application for 2024-2025 Opens April 9, 2024!

Mark the date on your calendar to apply during the Initial Application Period for the 2024–2025 school year. During this initial enrollment window, families will be able to submit early applications to help increase their chances of getting into competitive early education programs across the city.

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Find an Early Learning Program Near You!

Do you still need to enroll your child in a program? Don't worry! There are open seats available at programs citywide. Apply today for the best chance of getting a seat in one of the available programs before they fill up.

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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