Home Care Family Outreach

Erica Stearns kneels between her two children, Margot and Caratacus, as they sit in medical stroller outdoors. All three are wearing winter hats and coats.

Our Home Care Family Outreach Associate offers support, connection and empowerment for DSCC families caring for loved ones with complex medical needs.

Families face unique and sometimes unexpected challenges when caring for a loved one with complex medical conditions.

We have a Home Care Family Outreach Associate (HCFOA) on our team who understands these challenges and can provide heartfelt support.

Erica Stearns and her husband stand arm-in-arm between their children Margot and Caratacus Stearns who are in medical wheelchairs while the family enjoys time outdoors

With lived experience as a patient, parent and caregiver, our HCFOA can recognize shared experiences and guide families through the complexities of multiple systems of care.

Our HCFOA also works to create a sense of community for caregivers within the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC). In this community, families can feel supported, empowered and more confident in their caregiving journey.

Our HCFOA works hand-in-hand with families and caregivers to:

  • Create trusting partnerships
  • Offer tailored support in addition to the care coordination services they receive from DSCC
  • Provide essential caregiver resources

The HCFOA ensures that caregivers are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for their children and navigate complex systems of care.

How to Connect With Our HCFOA

The Home Care Family Associate is available upon the request of families.

The HCFOA is here to support your family as you navigate:

  • Adjusting to a new norm
  • Needing support for your child/loved one’s medical needs and increased level of care
  • Looking for guidance on what to expect
  • Wanting to connect with other families

You can ask your DSCC care coordination team to refer you to the HCFOA. You can also email a request to speak with the HCFOA at DSCC-FamilySupport@uic.edu.

Please note, the HCFOA complements, rather than replaces, the important relationship between our care coordination teams and families. The HCFOA aims to strengthen the existing support system for your family.

Please talk to your Care Coordinator to take advantage of this valuable support!

Meet Our Current HCFOA Erica Stearns

Erica Stearns holds her two children, Margot and Caratacus, while they were babies

Erica Stearns is our Home Care Family Outreach Associate. She is the proud parent of two children, Margot and Caratacus, who have been enrolled in the Core and Home Care programs since 2016. They reside in southern Illinois and enjoy the beauty of the Shawnee National Forest.

Margot and Caratacus were born with the same rare genetic mutation, lanosterol synthase (LSS), which causes congenital atrichia (alopecia), brain abnormalities, and profound intellectual and physical disabilities.

Both Margot and Caratacus receive in-home nursing and services through the Home and Community Based Services Waiver for Those Who Are Medically Fragile Technology Dependent (MFTD) waiver. They recently used their waiver funding to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van.

Erica Stearns sits outside on a picnic bench and holds her son Caratacus in her lap while sitting next to her daughter Margot, who is in a medical stroller

Erica also grew up with medical complexities and disabilities. Born with a rare birth defect unrelated to the one her children share, Erica needed to use a tracheostomy and a G-tube throughout her childhood and teenage years.

Erica has paralyzed vocal cords but loves using her voice and her experiences as both a caregiver and disabled individual to build community and find solutions for the issues and challenges facing caregivers.

Erica serves as the co-chair of DSCC’s Family Advisory Council. You can learn more about Erica, her family and her caregiving journey in The Stearns Family Story.