COVID-19 Resources and Supports for Families
We’re here to help children with special healthcare needs and their families navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of life for our participants and their families.
In these uncertain times, we remain here to partner with Illinois families and communities to help children and youth with special healthcare needs connect to the services and resources they need.
We’ve compiled a list of resources and available supports to help families meet their needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can search for these resources by category or region on the right side of this page.
The list includes places offering free meals, utility assistance, free Wi-Fi, educational websites, activities during social distancing and condition-specific resources.
We continue to update this list as new resources become known or available. Please check back often for the latest information.
If you have questions about a specific need and would like additional support, please call your local DSCC Regional Office or contact (800) 322-3722.
Meals and Financial Resources
In early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic.
Illinois has launched a statewide network that will receive, refurbish and redistribute used computers to those in need.
This initiative responds to the 1.1 million Illinois households currently without computers and aims to bridge the digital divide for those without internet access to help improve connectivity essential for remote learning, work from home, telemedicine, and other requirements of everyday life.
The project is a partnership of the state of Illinois, PCs for People and various community partners.
To be eligible, residents must be below 200 percent of the poverty level or enrolled in income-based government assistance programs, such as free or reduced school lunch, Medicaid or SNAP.
Individuals can register for upcoming distribution events in their area to receive a computer, internet or both.
Visit www.pcsforpeople.org/illinois/ or call (618) 215-3787 for more information.
Applications are now open for the Cook County Emergency Rental Assistance program. It pays up to 12 months of missed rent and utility payments and up to three months of future rent payments. Payments will be made directly to your landlord and utility company.
Applications open March 11, 2021, and will be accepted until April 9, 2021.
Applicants must live in suburban Cook County. For the full list of eligibility requirements and to apply online, visit the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Rental Assistance website.
Medical Health and Condition Specific Information Resources
The Illinois Department of Public Health has launched the Vaccine Appointment Call Center to help people who do not have access to or who have difficulty navigating online services in making appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The toll-free Vaccine Appointment Call Center phone number is (833) 621-1284 and can take TTY calls.
The call center is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. The call center has English and Spanish-speaking call agents with the availability for translation into other languages.
Call agents will help individuals who do have access to online services navigate the various registration sites. However, if the individual does not have access to online services or is unable to navigate the site, the agent will make an appointment on their behalf.
If you see a treatment or cure for influenza or COVID-19 that looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns families about fake or unapproved products that claim to protect people from catching influenza, COVID-19 or other viruses.
HealthyChildren.org, the parenting website of the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides these tips to help families stay safe from unsafe COVID-19 tests, medications and products.
As more Illinois residents become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination to use the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker.
V-safe is a smartphone-based tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.
Parenting and Caregiving Resources
The Illinois Respite Coalition (IRC) is a not-for-profit organization of caregivers and respite providers dedicated to advocating support for families by ensuring access to quality respite services for the residents of Illinois. The IRC is dedicated to spreading the awareness of lifespan respite for caregivers of individuals with special needs. The IRC is able to assist caregivers by connecting them to resources in their area, provide training on respite topics, and have funding available for emergency respite
This organization’s emergency respite program offers funding and resources to support caregivers who are not receiving any respite services and have an urgent need for respite care in the absence of any other funding source. The website gives examples of qualifying circumstances and information on how to apply.
It’s easy to view self-care as a low priority when your child is diagnosed with a serious illness. Your role as a parent and parenting partner has unexpectedly changed. The child has urgent and complex medical needs; you must manage appointments and service providers, and learn new information about the disease and medical treatment—all while tending to the needs of other family members, work and/or other responsibilities.
The Courageous Parents Network provides this guide to help parents make time and find ways to take care of themselves.
The Illinois Respite Coalition put together this Virtual Care Package with free virtual resources to help caregivers take time for themselves.
It includes links to podcasts, playlists, exercises and other tips for caregivers.