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
Rental Assistance & Eviction Resources
Illinois Access to Justice provides information on available rental assistance programs in Illinois, where to find legal help if you’re facing eviction and an overview of your rights as a tenant living in Illinois.
Information is available in English and Spanish.
Ameren Illinois’ Economic Hardship Recovery Program provides information on various energy assistance programs, payment options and tips on lowering your utility bill.
This step-by-step resource includes information on:
- Assistance paying your energy bills, applying for financial assistance and eligibility guidelines
- Exploring payment options
- Tips for lowering future energy bills and energy efficiency programs
Click here for a list of assistance programs statewide, including Warm Neighbors Cool Friends (WNCF), a program designed to help moderate-income seniors and families who have temporarily experienced a hardship but may not meet the guidelines of government programs.
For more information, contact Ameren Illinois at (800) 755-5000 (residential customers) or (800) 232-2477 (business customers).
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible low-income households pay for home energy services (primarily heating during winter months).
Due to COVID-19 precautions, some local agencies are closed to the public, but applications may be made remotely.
To help find an office serving your area, visit this complete list of LIHEAP application agencies based on county.
For more program information, check out the frequently asked questions or call the LIHEAP hotline at (877) 411-WARM (9276).
Local agencies may offer different types of LIHEAP assistance depending on funding availability and the utility service area.
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.
COVID-19 is challenging to explain, live through and communicate about. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides videos, posters, social stories, and interactive activities to help communicate with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities about COVID-19.
Five topics are featured in the toolkit:
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccine
- Wearing a mask
- Social distancing
- Hand washing
- Getting a COVID-19 test
The CDC also has a one-page, easy-to-understand tip sheet for caregivers.
The materials are also available in Spanish.
The U.S. Department of Labor provides a wide variety of resources to help workers, employers, youth and policymakers respond to and recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. Their website includes information on COVID-19 long haulers and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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.
Ready.gov provides emergency preparedness tools and information to help families before, during and after disasters. This site includes:
- Step-by-step checklists, tips and individual considerations important to planning for people with disabilities and their families
- Ready Kids age-appropriate materials for helping children and teens be prepared rather than scared
Resources are also available in Spanish, simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a variety of resources for parents, caregivers and youth related to different types of childhood trauma, including coping with hard times, grief, hospitalizations and more.
Resources are available in English and Spanish.