Financial Assistance Program - Day Camp & Park Kids

The Chicago Park District has limited funds available to provide financial assistance for families who wish to enroll in the summer day camp program or the Park Kids after school program but are unable to afford the full price.  If approved, financial assistance will cover half of the program cost.  Customers are responsible for paying the other half.

Financial assistance is only available to City of Chicago residents.

Customers are asked to present ONE of the following in person, at a park, to demonstrate financial need:

1.  State of Illinois – Department of Human Services Notice of Decision – Summary Section confirming participation in Cash, Medical, or SNAP benefits. This notice accompanies the issuance of a LINK/EBT card. Reissued notices may be requested from your caseworker at a DHS Family Community Resource Center. Paying customer must be listed as the benefits recipient.

2.  State of Illinois – Healthcare and Family Services Medical Card (not any other medical or insurance card). The child being enrolled must be listed as a covered person and paying customer must be listed as Case Name.

3.  Proof of income that shows the household falls below the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services-determined Federal Poverty Guideline, by providing one of two options:

  • Check stubs from the last 30 days to determine net monthly income, for the paying customer; must be parent or guardian of child being enrolled.
  • Previous Year’s IRS form (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and corresponding W2, for the paying customer; must be parent or guardian of child being enrolled.

To assist patrons using the financial assistance discount (50%) at the start of online registration, financial assistance documentation is being accepted in-person at parks before online registration begins.  Once completed and approved, the enrolling patron's account is updated to include the Financial Assistance prerequisite. When registering for summer camp or Park Kids, a patron with the prerequisite will automatically be discounted 50% of the program cost.  If this step isn't completed prior to online registration, patrons still have the option to register online by paying 100% at the time of registration and then presenting the documentation at the park to receive the 50% refund.

If a patron received financial assistance for camp during the summer, they can notify the park supervisor of their request to receive financial assistance for the Park Kids program in the fall without having to resubmit the documentation listed above. This can be done by calling or visiting the park where they plan to enroll in the Park Kids program.  Once completed, the enrolling patron's account is updated to include this financial assistance prerequisite for fall.

Please note:

  • Information submitted is confidential. Documents will be reviewed by Park Staff and returned to the customer; copies will not be made or retained.
  • Eligibility for financial assistance does not guarantee a slot in the programs and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount or voucher programs.
  • Applicants that do not qualify for Financial Assistance may inquire about the payment plan option, for summer programming only, at their local park.

CHA Discount

Reduced fees are available for CHA residents enrolled in summer day camp, winter break camp, spring break camp, and the Park Kids after school program.  Starting Fall 2020, CHA residents no longer need the paper “voucher” to take advantage of Park District programs. By obtaining a CHA Membership, either online or in-person at any park, CHA residents may register for eligible programs and pay a reduced fee. Other discounts and financial assistance cannot be used along with this discount.

New Paperless Process:

  • A Chicago Park District account must be created before registering for a program or membership. Go here to create an account. 
  • If you already have a CPD account, click here to add the CHA Membership to your cart.
  • Participant registrants must be on the lease to be eligible for a CHA membership. When signing up online for the membership, the last four digits of their social security number will be required for lease validation.
  • Once the CHA membership is applied to a Park District account, the resident is pre-qualified for the CHA discounted fee of $15 for Park Kids, and $5 for Spring and Winter Break Camps. 
  • The CHA membership open enrollment period for online registration is November 16 – November 29, 2020. 
  • Membership requests will be validated by CHA. Once validated, the membership is valid through Summer 2021. 
  • Online (Internet) registration for Fall programming, including Park Kids, opens on December 7 & 8, 2020 at 9 am.  Online registration begins December 7 for parks located west of California Ave. and December 8 for parks located east of California Ave.

In-Person Registration:

  • In-person registration at the parks is still available, however the paper “voucher” will no longer be required. 
  • To register in-person at a park, a current, photo ID is required. Park Staff will validate residency using the participant registrant’s name, date of birth, and the last four digits of the social security number. Park Staff will also help set up a Park District account, if they do not already exist, and add the CHA discount membership. 
  • In-Person (standard) registration for Fall programming opens on December 11, 2020 at 8 am. Participants may apply for the CHA membership during open enrollment (11/16 – 11/29) in-person or online.

Please Note:

  • The Chicago Park District Fall season will be split into two seven (7) week sessions from September 8 to October 25, 2020 (Fall I) and from November 2 to December 20, 2020 (Fall II). The schedule for Winter Break Camp programs will not be affected by this change.  
  • Because there are a limited number of CHA discounts available, the discount is available on a first come, first serve basis.
  • The CHA membership is free and good through 8/31/2021.  Fees for programs still apply.
  • Information submitted to Park Staff is confidential and will be reviewed to validate CHA residency; copies will not be made or retained.
  • Eligibility for the CHA discount does not guarantee a slot in the program. It only allows for reduced payment at the time of registration. 
  • If you are ineligible for the CHA discount, the Chicago Park District has limited funds available to provide financial assistance for families who wish to enroll, but are unable to afford the full price of an program. See above for more information about financial assistance.


For more information, email us or call us at (312) 742.PLAY (7529) or (312) 747-2001 (TTY).