Austin Childcare Providers Network History

Founded in June, 1998, the Austin Childcare Providers’ Network (ACPN) is a non-for-profit, 501c (3) organization with an active membership of 50 family childcare providers and 11 center-based daycare center facilities.

About Our Providers

ACPN childcare provider facilities are located in Austin, Maywood, Bellwood, Lawndale, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, Elmwood Park, and Round Lake. One of our goals is to engage our providers from our Network and the immediate community in advocacy and educational work. We do this by familiarizing ourselves with Federal, State, and local requirements through our involvement with multiple partners, including Austin Coming Together, Chicago Public Schools, Rush University Medical Center, Malcolm X College, and more.

Network Programs and Resources

Early Childhood Education Cohort

Network members are provided with support and resources to help earn their Associate’s Degree or Infant Toddler Credentials (Levels 2, 3, and 4) at Malcolm X College, where ACPN started developing the cohort in 2019. Educational tutoring with ACPN is available for those who may need it.

Technology Tutoring & Support

With our Technology Tutor, Gerry Taylor, providers are given assistance to improve their computer skills. 

Rush Project ECHO

This project is a partnership with Rush University Medical Center.

Project ECHO is committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations by equipping communities with the right knowledge, at the right place, at the right time. RUSH’s Early Childhood ECHO seeks to support, mentor and empower first-line providers to identify not only problems, but evidence-based solutions for the most common behavioral health and developmental concerns in young children.

Learn more about Project ECHO:

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

ACPN will work with cohorts of childcare programs to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education in their settings.  These state systems can be designed for use by all types of early childhood programs—child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start programs, and school-based programs.

Kindergarten Readiness & Transition Project

The proposed pilot would require a collaboration among DHS, ISBE GOECD and CPS to align training, curriculum, and assessments from childcare programs (ages 3-4), preschool programs and kindergarten classes.

Rush Young Child Wellness Council

This is a partnership with Rush University Medical Center.

The Young Child Wellness Council (YCWC) will be tasked with helping tailor culturally and developmentally appropriate approaches for program goals & processes, marketing, and data reporting & interpretation. The YCWC will ensure compatibility with the needs and perspectives of key stakeholders before beginning major program activities. If concerns arise, we will convene the board to identify the problems and develop joint solutions.

Family Childcare and Head Start Collaboration

ACPN has developed a family childcare collaboration with Spencer Technology School for head start services. Presently, we have 25 children enrolled in head start half-day services from family childcare.  These children now have the opportunity to receive head start services that are critical to helping the families to identify challenges that that may be facing.  With the help from Spencer School, children that we serve will be able to achieve greater school success because of the alignment of services from home to school.   Research reveals that Head Start programs provide educational, economic, and law enforcement benefits to our society.  We are hopeful that the Head Start experience at Spencer will positively impact the children that are hard to reach from family childcare homes in pre-reading, vocabulary and parent involvement. 

Paid Youth Workers Porgram
Developmental Screening Cohort

The developmental screening is a brief check that provides a pictures of a child’s communication, motor, cognitive, personal-social (adaptive or self-help) and social emotional skills.   The screening can determine whether a child’s development is appropriate for his or her age.  If a child’s developments is on a tract, a developmental screening can help identify the child’s areas of strength.

The Cohort provides training and technical assistance to conduct the Ages and Stages Questionnaire.  After providing the training and technical assistance, 20 childcare providers are engaged in providing developmental screening at least once but usually twice per year, or as indicted by their parents to the children in their care.  Each of them attend 2 hour professional development training each month to learn the process.  Each provider receives 2 hours more of one-on-one coaching when the screening is done.  The Coach is available to assist the provider with the screening and the use of the tools to perform the screening.

ACPN Community Partners

  • Austin Chamber of Commerce
  • YWCA/Voices for Illinois Children
  • Austin Coming Together
  • Westside Forward
  • Bethel New Life
  • New Moms
  • World Vision
  • Carole Robertson Center
  • Cradle to Crayons
  • Westside Health Authority
  • Project Exploration
  • Rush University
  • Erikson Institute
  • Illinois Action for Children
  • Governor’s Office
  • City of Chicago
  • & More!

ACPN Values

Empowerment – Passion – Engagement – Expertise – Friend


ACPN empowers early childcare providers in Austin to create engaging early learning environments and develop sustainable businesses.


All young people have a healthy, happy childhood!




To encourage community residents to develop the necessary skills required to be successful childcare and education providers.



To help our members maintain safe, healthy and wholesome learning environments for low-income and at-risk families.



To demonstrate the benefits of an early childhood education program, including socializing and cost effectiveness.



To connect residents within communities in need with job opportunities in childcare and educational industries.

Education is the mark that cannot be erased.

About Our Founder

Meet Ruth Kimble. Our fearless leader.

Ruth Kimble

I have been an activist for the quality care and education of our young children for the past 15 years.  I began my career as the owner of Channing’s Childcare Home care and I am now the Owner/Director of Channing’s Childcare Academy, President of Austin Childcare Providers Network with a membership of 120 small businesses.  I serve as a board member of Goodcity and Austin Coming Together and as the interim President of Alliance for Quality Childcare. 

Young children are shaped by their environment. They need caring relationships, safe homes and neighborhoods, and opportunities to learn. In Austin, community leaders are coming together to ensure that all children have the supports they need to thrive. Schools and childcare businesses are being transformed into vibrant learning centers; parents are building supportive home environments; and neighbors are fostering safe communities.

Ruth Kimble
Founder and President

Ruth Kimble

Founder and President of Austin Childcare Providers Network

Madelyn James

Interim Program Director