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
Chicago Moves provides financial relief for Chicago residents struggling with transportation expenses. The program will conduct a monthly lottery to provide prepaid gas cards of $150 and prepaid transit cards of $50 to eligible residents across the city.
The program will distribute cards every month from May through September. To be considered for each month’s lottery, individuals must submit applications by the first day of that month.
The lottery will take place through September. If you are not selected in the month’s drawing, you are automatically entered into the next. Only one application will be accepted.
Details on how to apply and eligibility are on the Chicago Moves website.
Resource Navigators at the Chicago COVID-19 Resource Coordination Hub are available to help Chicago residents connect with organizations that can provide necessities like food, medication, housing, utility assistance programs and more.
The service is confidential and free. Resource Navigators are available seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. by calling (844) 929-2917.
Illinois Unidos provides a collection of resources developed for and focusing on Latinx families to address:
- Frequently asked questions regarding vaccinations and mitigation measures
- Accessing health, economic and mental health community services
- Stopping the growth of COVID-19
- The devastating economic impact of COVID-19
Illinois Unidos is a consortium of more than 150 Latino elected and appointed officials, health professionals and representatives of community-based organizations.
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.
Children under 5 may now get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) and other partners have put together helpful handouts for families with information about the vaccines, planning your visit, and tips and tricks to use before, during and after your child’s immunization.
Talking with family members about vaccines and healthcare choices can be stressful and scary, especially for teens. The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) has created a “Tips for Teens – Talking with Your Parents or Guardians About Vaccines” handout in English and Spanish to help teens navigate those tricky conversations.
Parenting and Caregiving Resources
The Illinois Respite Coalition (IRC) is a not-for-profit organization of caregivers and respite providers dedicated to supporting families and ensuring access to quality respite services for the residents of Illinois. The IRC assists caregivers by connecting them to resources in their area, providing training on respite topics and having funding available for emergency respite. The IRC helps caregivers of individuals across the lifespan with any disability.
The Emergency Respite Care 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. Emergency respite care may be for an unplanned or planned event for reasons including:
- Caregiver illness (physical, mental or emotional)
- Caregiver hospitalization
- Work-related situation
- Reduction of stress level
The website gives examples of qualifying circumstances and information on how to apply.
Print or download the emergency care flyer:
For more information contact:
- The Illinois Respite Coalition at (866) ILL-RESP (455-7377)
- Statewide Coordinator Kara McCroskey at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Illinois Respite Coalition provides a free, online Respite Provider Training Program consisting of ten courses for individuals interested in providing respite care. The courses can be taken on your own time and will provide information to meet the Respite Care Professionals Core Competencies.
Following completion, participants will a certificate of completion and have the option of joining the statewide registry to be connected to respite opportunities.
The Mighty provides a digital toolkit to help caregivers learn more about the ins and outs of caregiving and discover helpful resources to utilize along their caregiving journey.
- A caregiving binder, complete with worksheets to help you better organize important information
- A respite care questionnaire to help you find the perfect respite worker for your specific needs
- A self-care mini-guide to help you destress and prioritize your mental health
Everything included in the toolkit is downloadable, printable and shareable.