Family Support Resources
Bright by Text is a free text messaging service that delivers high-quality information to families to help them foster a child’s healthy growth, based on their exact age and developmental stage.
Available in English and Spanish, the service covers children from prenatal through age 8. Topics covered include brain development, speech and language skills, social-emotional development, reading and writing skills, nutrition, mental health, school readiness, and more.
All information is provided by trusted content partners, including the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sesame Street, PBS Kids for Parents, and Zero to Three.
Families can sign up by texting BRIGHT to 274448, or by using the form on the Bright by Text website. Text messages are customized by the child’s due date or age and zip code.
Bright Futures is a national child health initiative focused on prevention and health promotion for infants, children, adolescents and their families.
The Bright Futures website provides a number of resources for children, teens and families and information to help families build a strong partnership with their healthcare providers.
Nathaniel’s Hope Buddy Break is a free respite opportunity for McHenry County parents of children who have a physical, cognitive, medical or other hidden disability, a chronic or life-threatening illness, or are medically fragile.
It is provided through First Church of Crystal Lake and Options & Advocacy for McHenry County. The program gives each child a trained “buddy” to be by their side for three hours of one-to-one attention and kid-centered activities. The program is open to children with special needs ages 2 – 16 and their siblings ages 4 – 11.
Children with disabilities — such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities — are at an increased risk of being bullied. Any number of factors — physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments — may increase the risk.
StopBullying.Gov provides information on risk factors, strategies to create a safe environment and other resources at www.stopbullying.gov/bullying/special-needs.
Caregiver Action Network (CAN) is a national nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease or the frailties old age.
CAN provides a Family Caregiver Toolbox on a variety of topics.CAN also has a “Caring for Rare Disease Caregivers” website that includes helpful information, tips, and resources, including communicating effectively with healthcare professionals, looking for respite care, handling complex emotions and more.
The Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition (PPCC) offers a Caring Conversations Toolkit to help determine when and how to start a conversation about hospice or palliative care. Separate toolkits targeting the needs of families and providers are available.
Each toolkit offers a series of questions to consider in deciding if it is time to start a conversation about hospice or palliative care for a child with serious illness and how to navigate the discussion.
Websites can help connect family and friends about a health challenge.
From birth to age 5, your child should reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act and move.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides developmental milestones checklists to help track your child’s development and act early if you have a concern.
The CDC also has a free Milestone Tracker App with photos and videos that illustrate each developmental milestone. You can use the app to track your child’s development and find out what to do if you have concerns.
A national information and referral center on disabilities and related issues (formerly the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities or NICHCY). Information is available in Spanish also.
Center for Prevention of Abuse‘s mission is to help all people – women, men, and children – to live free from violence and abuse.
The center provides services for domestic violence, sexual abuse/assault, human trafficking, adult protective services and prevention education. Its crisis hotline is available 24/7 at (800) 559-SAFE (7233).