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Resource Directory

Find resource information for families and children with special healthcare needs.

Some of these resources are specific for families and children served by the Core or Home Care Program, while others may be of interest to any family or child with special health needs. For resources specific to your area, go to the “Browse by Region” links on this page.

You can use the search field in the upper right-hand corner to narrow your view.  For example, you can search for support groups, respite, a specific topic or by condition.  Check back often for updates.

If you don’t find what you need, call us at (800) 322-3722 or send us an email.

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Education Resources

  • C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation

    C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation (C.E.F.S.) is a non-profit that serves residents in the Illinois counties of Christian, Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Montgomery, Moultrie and Shelby.

    C.E.F.S. aims to help economically and socially disadvantaged people become more self-sufficient. Its  support and services include:

    • Summer youth program and college scholarships
    • Housing programs
    • Employment and training services
    • Education services
    • Food and utility assistance

    Visit the C.E.F.S. website for more information.

  • UIC Co-Operative Career Experience Program (Co-Op)

    The UIC Co-Operative Career Experience Certificate program (Co-Op Program) from the Department of Disability and Human Development is designed to support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who may not be able to access post-secondary education in traditional ways. Co-Op students take classes alongside other UIC students as they work towards career opportunities in:

    • Arts and culture
    • Social justice and advocacy
    • Health and care across the lifespan

    To be eligible for the Co-Op Program, applicants must be:

    • A high school graduate
    • Age 18 or older
    • Have an intellectual and/or developmental disability

    Visit the Co-Op Program website for more details.

  • GiGi's Playhouse: Down Syndrome Achievement Centers

    GiGi’s Playhouse: Down Syndrome Achievement Centers provide free, nationwide on-site and virtual educational, therapeutic-based and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community. Programs are available for individuals of all ages focusing on speech and language, social skills, cooking and fitness.

    GiGi’s Playhouse Illinois locations include:

    • Chicago
    • Deerfield
    • Fox Valley
    • Hoffman Estates
    • McHenry County
    • Quad Cities
    • Rockford
    • Tinley Park
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Family Resources

  • Special Father's Network

    Special Father’s Network is a dad-to-dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs.

    The program connects new fathers with special needs children to another father (a Mentor Father) who has experienced a similar situation. The program matches Mentor Fathers as closely as possible based on the child’s special needs, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic group and relationship to the child e.g., .father, stepfather, grandfather).

    The Special Father’s Network is available through the 21st Century Dads Foundation, which raises awareness and resources for greater father involvement and seeks to inspire dads to be present, caring and nurturing.

  • Illinois Respite Coalition

    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. See the emergency care flyer for more details. (The flyer is also available in Spanish.)

    For more information contact:

    • The Illinois Respite Coalition at (866) ILL-RESP (455-7377)
    • Statewide Coordinator Kara McCroskey at
  • Almost Home Kids

    Almost Home Kids provides a bridge from hospital to home through an innovative community-based care system for children with medical complexities. It responds to the needs of families, trains caregivers, offers respite care, advocates for accessibility and inclusion and educates healthcare professionals.

    Almost Home Kids offers transitional, respite and respite transportation care. It has locations in Chicago, Naperville and Peoria.

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Medical/Health Resources

  • Get Covered Illinois - The Official Health Marketplace

    If you are looking for health insurance for yourself or your family, or if you own a small business or lead a nonprofit organization this website is the official site in Illinois for signing up for health insurance.

  • Cerebral Palsy in Children

    Children with cerebral palsy have trouble controlling their movement. The condition is the most common disability that affects a child’s motor control.

    Cerebral palsy usually is caused by a brain injury or abnormal brain development before birth or early in life. Genetic causes, although less common, can also play a role.

    Healthy Children, the official parenting website of the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides an overview of what families need to know about cerebral palsy and how to help children who have it reach their full potential.

  • Cerebral Palsy Foundation

    The Cerebral Palsy Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to be a catalyst for creating positive change for people with cerebral palsy (CP).

    The Cerebral Palsy Foundation website includes expert insights on what is CP and a fact sheet library on various topics.


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