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
The Chicago COVID Resource Finder provides information on available assistance with money, food, housing, health, mental health, utilities and legal help during the pandemic.
Resources are available for families, immigrants, LGBTQI, business owners and students.
Text “covid” to (312) 436-2280 to access these resources via phone.
CommunityGlo is a free hot meal program dedicated to serving Knox County.
Meals are served one night a week. There are no eligibility requirements to use the program to receive meals.
The Illinois Department of Human Services in collaboration with the Illinois Commission on Poverty and Economic Security has put together a summary document listing new benefits that are now available to individuals and families through the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act.
The summary document is provided in both English and Spanish.
The types of benefits include stimulus checks, earned income tax credits, child tax credit, unemployment insurance, rental or mortgage assistance and food, cash, childcare and/or medical support.
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.
The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is now available to help people with disabilities get vaccinated. The hotline’s trained staff are available to:
- Help find local vaccination locations
- Assist with making vaccination appointments
- Connect callers to local services, such as accessible transportation, to overcome barriers to vaccination.
The hotline also can provide information and resources to answer questions and address concerns about the vaccines and can connect callers to information and services that promote independent living and address fundamental needs, such as food, housing and transportation.
You can call the hotline at (888) 677-1199, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also email the hotline at DIAL@n4a.org.
The governor has released guidelines for Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan, which will go into effect on June 11 and marks a full reopening of all businesses and activities.
This guidance will mean businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks and seated-spectator venues, among others, will be able to operate at full capacity for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state is also lifting the outdoor mask requirement in schools in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More information about the Phase 5 recommended public health practices is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.
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.
The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health provides frequently-asked questions, tips and resources for how to handle traumatic events.
Information includes possible symptoms after experiencing a traumatic event and when to seek help from a trained professional.
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.