Illinois Parenting Support Groups
We know that while being a parent can be one of the wonderful experiences in life, it can also be one of the most difficult and stressful. In this section of the website we not only connect you with parenting support groups in Illinois, but also do our best to provide you with the types of information and resources that we believe you may be looking for. For instance, we have provided information and resources in Illinois regarding financial assistance, free or reduced cost medical and health care, nutrition and child care, pregnancy help, labor and delivery issues and help on becoming a better parent. Additionally, at the bottom of this page you will find a list of parenting support groups and resources in Illinois and across the country.
Please feel free to return to our home page to read about our commitment to assist pregnant women and birth mothers, free of charge, regardless of whether they place their child for adoption or parent the child themselves. No matter what, we want to help.
Financial, Medical and Health Care Assistance
There are many types of local, state, and federal assistance for pregnant women, birth mothers and parents. We know that you want to do everything possible to keep yourself and your child healthy and in the best loving environment. Please note that programs to help provide food, medicine, and other needed items are listed in the next section that is titled "Illinois Nutrition and Free Food Programs".
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency designed to protect the health and safety of all Americans and to provide essential health care information. It is an excellent website covering a wide variety of heath and disease issues and is valuable whether you live in Illinois or any other state or country.
Children's Health Insurance Program in Illinois: Your child may be eligible for free or low cost health insurance coverage. The program covers a variety of services such as health care provider visits, prescription medicines and hospitalizations.
Council for Developmental Disabilities in Illinois has several programs to help parents and children who have disabilities. For other Illinois disability organizations visit this Illinois link.
Drug Prescription Assistance Programs provide free or low-cost medications to low-income individuals and families.
Free Medical/Dental Clinics in Illinois provides you with information about free clinics. Click on the following link for states other than Illinois.
Government Benefit Programs is an excellent website for finding government programs to help you and your child. Simply go to the site, fill out the questionnaire and the site will list all the national government programs for which you qualify. Additionally, information on financial aid and other U.S. government benefits are listed by agency and subject matter on the U.S. Government benefit website.
Medicaid Program in Illinois can help you If you are not able to afford to pay for medical care.
MedlinePlus, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, has baby care and health related information from a variety of sources. It has extensive information from trusted sources on over 700 diseases and conditions. There are also lists of hospitals and physicians, a medical encyclopedia and a medical dictionary, extensive information on prescription and nonprescription drugs, and health information from the media.
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides free or low-cost mammograms and pap tests for women who cannot afford breast exams or Pap smears.
National Organization for Rare Disorders patient assistance program offers free medication to people who otherwise cannot afford their medications. Patients must meet financial and other program specific criteria to be eligible for assistance.
Prescription Drug Assistance. Some states provide prescription drug assistance to women who are not covered by Medicaid. Additionally, many drug companies will work with your doctor or health care provider to supply free medicines to those in need.
Reduced Cost Health Care at Hospitals: Hill-Burton facilities are hospitals and nursing homes that have received money from the federal government and now must provide a certain amount of free or reduced-cost health services every year to those who cannot pay. You may apply for Hill-Burton assistance at any time before or after you receive care by simply asking for Hill-Burton assistance. To obtain a list of Hill-Burton facilities in your area or for more information on the Hill-Burton program and how to get free or reduced-cost health care go to www.hrsa.gov.
Special Electricity and Heat Help in Illinois: Many states have laws or programs that can keep your heat and electricity from being turned off if a member of your family would be endangered if the temperature is not controlled. We suggest you check the link and call the Illinois Department of Consumer Affairs/Services for more information. You can also contact one of the members of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Vaccines for Children program helps minimize the number of U.S. children who remain unvaccinated. VFC is a federally funded program that grants free routine immunizations to eligible children. Children who are un-insured or under-insured, who are enrolled in Medicaid, or who are Alaskan or Native American are eligible. See the Illinois VFC program.
Illinois Nutrition and Free Food Programs
You can make a big difference in your health and your child's health and well-being by learning how to provide a balanced diet of healthy foods. This section lists several government food and nutrition programs, many of which offer free food for you and your child.
Child Nutrition Programs in Illinois: U.S. government information on health and state agencies administering child nutrition programs. In Illinois the contact for this program is:
Illinois NSLP, CACFP (Child), SFSP
Division of Nutrition Programs & Support Services
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001
Food Banks in Illinois serve hundreds of churches and other nonprofit agencies in distributing free food to those in need. Additionally, the phone book is a good place to find local churches, synagogues, and food kitchens that may be able to help you with food and clothing needs. We have listed a few Illinois food bank websites to help you get started, but there are more if you take the time to search for them.
Illinois Foodbank Websites
Illinois Emergency Food Program list includes Food Pantries , Soup Kitchens and Homeless Shelters
Food Stamps Program in Illinois: The US Department of Agriculture's Food Stamp Program helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health. You apply for benefits by completing a State application form.
Nutrition Assistance Programs in Illinois: The US Food and Nutrition Service provides children and low-income people access to free food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education. Programs include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program. and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. To find out more about these programs in Illinois, contact the Illinois Department of Education, or the Illinois Department of Health. Note: If these state agency links have changed, you can find the numbers in your Blue pages of the telephone directory or by calling your local operator.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Illinois: The Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children provides free food, nutrition counseling, and referrals to health and other social services to participants at no charge. WIC serves low-Income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk.
World Hunger Year website provides a list of resources for food that can make your search for food assistance easier. Additionally, the Feeding America's website can help you find a food bank or food-rescue organization that serves your local community.
Being pregnant can be exciting or anxiety producing depending on what your plans are and your situation in life. Our goal is to help take away some of your worries so you can focus on the proper care of both you and your baby. The initial step of course is determining if you are pregnant. The next step is helping you understand pregnancy symptoms, the stages of pregnancy, and what to expect. Next, we would like you to know that financial help and medical help are available for pregnant women as well as information to help you with nutritional and emotional issues. One of the most important things you can do for the health of both you and your baby is to have prenatal care and testing. You may find additional help at our pages on support groups and resources for pregnant women.
Delivery and Labor
For many women giving birth to a child can be scary. One of the best ways to conquer your fear is to understand as much as possible about pregnancy, thelabor and delivery process, about hospital or birth center births, and about birth plans. We suggest that you also visit our site PregnancyAndChildren.com for information to help you understand all about pregnancy, the when, why and how of induced labor, of having a natural birth, having a cesarean birth and of having an episiotomy. And of course it is always helpful to understand in advance how to deal with the pain of delivery, what an APGAR score is, issues surrounding bonding, and whether breast feeding or formula feeding is best for you and your baby.
Child Care and Tax Credits
Tax Credits, Exemptions, and Refunds: Many states have their own Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Child Care Credit and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to file for these credits on both in your state and federal taxes. Last year over 600,000 families did not take advantage of $238 million in tax refunds for Child Tax Credit. Contact the Illinois revenue office for more information.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), created by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service offers free tax help to low- to moderate- income (generally, $39,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or has a child who is being abused, or is in danger of being abused, there are shelters where you can stay and 24-hour hotlines you can call for help.
Parenting Skills and Emotional Issues
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you may feel the need to reach out for help and advice in dealing with child development concerns, child health issues, emotional problems, parenting, finding a therapist, and more. If your child is adopted you may have special concerns which we address on the Illinois adoption support groups page.
The following list of local, state and national support groups can assist you in your role as a parent.
Illinois Home school support groups provide information to anyone in Illinois who needs help in the area of home schooling.
American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 pediatricians. Whether you are looking for general information related to child health or for more specific guidelines concerning a pediatric issue, they can help a birth mother or a birth father with concerns about raising a child. The AAP website contains general information for parents of children from birth through age 21.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: BBBSA enables adult volunteers, through a matching and mentoring program, to serve as friends, mentors, and role models for school-aged children and teens. The BBBSA agencies provide professional support and locally-focused programs.
CafeMom focuses on creating a website where mothers can come to get advice, feel supported, and just relax in their role as a parent.
DailyStrength.org is a network of people sharing their advice, treatment experiences, and support. They have parenting support groups for infants (0 - 12 months), toddlers (1 to 3 year olds), parenting preschoolers (3-5), parenting 5-8 year olds, tweens (9-12), and teenagers (12-18).
Head Start program and Early Head Start are child development programs that serve children from birth to age 5, pregnant women, and their families. The Head Start Locator provides a link for you to find your Illinois Head Start Programs.
Mothers of Preschoolers: MOPS helps urban, suburban, and rural moms, stay-at-home and working moms, teen, single, and married moms to be the best mothers they can be. MOPS tries to help mothers through relationships established in the context of local support groups.
North American Council on Adoptable Children Support Groups is a database containing almost 900 adoption-related support groups from across the United States and Canada. You can search the database by state or province, or by the type of group or the group's activity.
NurturingNetwork.org offers help, and a toll-free phone number, regarding medical and financial assistance, nurturing homes, educational programs, employment, adoption, and preparation for parenthood. The objective of the Nurturing Network is to ensure that every woman knows that the resources she needs in order to continue her pregnancy are available.
Pregnancy And Children is a comprehensive website that can help any woman who wants to know more about her pregnancy, about the child she has delivered or may give birth to in the near future, and about raising her child.
Teenage mother help: This website is designed for young mothers and mothers-to-be who plan on raising their child. It hopes to support, inform, and connect young mothers so they can better face the challenge of parenting. The site provides free services like young mother discussion/chat groups, a weekly chat with other mothers, a pen pal directory, and links to helpful sites, resources and information.