Early Intervention

Child & Family Connections #15

May 2023 Family Newsletter

Will/Grundy/Kankakee/LaSalle Counties

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms on Sunday May 14th!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

It may be hard to think of babies and young children and having mental health concerns, however for young children mental health is often referred to as social emotional health, which according to Zero to Three, is described as the developing the capacity of your child to experience and regulate emotions, form secure relationships, and explore and learn. A child's social emotional development is so important because it impacts all areas of development and is one of the most important skills for success during the school years. them.

One of the ways Early Intervention can support you and your child when you have concerns about your child's social emotional development is to have an evaluation completed by an EI social worker or counselor. These professionals are trained to support young children and their parents/caregivers when there are behavior challenges or when your child has experienced things that are traumatic or scary. They can help you to understand what may be causing your child's behaviors and work with you on ways that you can help support them. To learn more about this resource in EI, please reach out to your service coordinator. You can also read more on the role of social workers in EI from the EI Clearinghouse and watch a brief video on the role of the social worker in EI.

It is often helpful for parents to think of their child's challenging behavior as a way your child is trying to communicate with you about things that may be hard for them. If we listen and try to understand things from the child's perspective we may learn ways we can help. The Zero to Three website is a great source of information to help support parents in understanding and responding to their child's behavior. We've shared links to some great articles below:

When you think about supporting your child's mental health it is important to note that parents are the most important person in a child's life and children learn best through their interactions with you. Enjoy this video of a toddler talking to his mom about emotions and his mom reflecting and validating his emotions, two important ways to support a child's emotional development! Parenting is hard and it is important for all parents to take care of your own mental health. In the Family Support Resources section of this newsletter we include links to organizations that support families, including some that can help to support you and your child's mental health.

  • Free children's mental health screenings by Easterseals Joliet for children age 1-17 years. Contact Michele Poskanka at 815-927-5482 or mposkanka@joliet.easterseals.com to set up an appointment.

  • For anyone experiencing mental health related distress call 9-8-8, 24/7 to be connected to the mental health suicide and crisis lifeline.

In this newsletter you will find information on fun activities and support resources for all families, as well as information on some May awareness days and holidays.

May is....

If you know someone who is concerned about their child's development please, give them the number for the Child and Family Connections 15 Referral Coordinator, (815) 768-3730.

-The staff at CFC 15

Fun Family Activities |May 2023

Will/Grundy County Events

Reels at the Rialto May 11th - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Homer Glen Kite Fest May 13th

Mother's Day Craft show at the Promenade, Bolingbrook May 12-14

Mother's Day Tea at Bronkberry Farms in Plainfield on May 14th 11am-1pm. They are also hosting the Free Bluestem Earth Festival on May 20th

Moms play free on Mother's Day at Haunted Trails when accompanied by a child or grandchild.

Joliet Slammers Mother's Day game on May 14th. Every woman gets a free ticket to the game! Reserve your ticket now.

Will County Forest Preserve District events calendar has many events for children and families, such as Mother's Day weekend at Monee Reservoir on May 13th and Mother's Day appreciation at Hidden Lakes on May 14th

Star Wars Day June 3rd, 11am-4pm. Downtown Joliet

Salsa Fest in Joliet, Jun 9th 5:30-10pm

Catholic Charities Annual Back to School Fair on July 24th. This is a drive through event. Families must pre-register beginning May 23rd.

Baby Raffle at Child Care Resource and Referral for Will County residents. Stop by the CCR&R office in Joliet for a raffle ticket to win baby items! Questions? contact Corey McKnight 815-741-1163 ext. 227 cmcknight@childcarehelp.com.

To find fun events in the south suburbs go to the Chicago Southland visitors bureau

For events in Will County go to the Visit Will County website.

Kankakee County Events

Project Sun in Kankakee hosts a monthly Caregiver craft club on May 22nd 6-8pm.

Rhubarb Festival May 21st at the Kankakee County Museum

Pembroke Rodeo and Picnic May 27th & 28th

Rustic Vintage Fair May 28th at Kankakee County Fairgrounds

Strawberry Jazz Festival June 4th

Click here to view events and information about the Exploration Station children's museum in Kankakee.

Free Healthy Cooking Class for adults & families at the KVPD Rec Center Tuesday mornings May-July.

Little Me Studio in Bourbonnais has programs for babies and toddlers such as their Baby Art and Sensory Play group & Toddler Art playgroups.

Check out your local park district to find fun family events in your area!

·   Bourbonnais Township Park District

·   Kankakee Valley Park District

·   Momence Park District

To find more fun events in Kankakee County go to the Kankakee County Calendar of Events.

LaSalle County Events

Check out the Fun events all summer at Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton. Including the Kid's container make and take for Mother's Day on May 13th

Kites in Flight Kite Festival on May 20th and Outdoor Movie Night at the Ottawa Riverfront

Streator Food Truck Festival on May 20th

Check out the May and June Events at Graves Hume Library!

Shake, Rattle, & Read at Reddick Public Library Wednesdays at 10am for ages 9-36 months.

The Peru Public Library has fun, free classes for ages 0-5

Sensory Friendly movies at the Eagle Theatre in Streator

May 27th - The Little Mermaid

June 3rd - Spiderman

For fun events and parenting tips in LaSalle County go to:

Illinois Valley Area Parent References Facebook page

LaSalle County Calendar of Events

Ottawa IL Pick Us calendar of events.

For family events in the Chicagoland area go to ChicagoParent.com. Check out the Memorial Day Parades and Events for Chicago Families and view the May/June 2023 Issue of Chicago Parent Magazine

Chicago Free Museum Days for Summer 2023

The Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) has a list of camps offered this summer for children throughout the State!

Fun and educational places for families:

DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville. The museum offers Access membership for a reduced fee to all families in Early Intervention ($25 for a family membership!! Reduced from $135) See the website for details or ask at the museum.

Kidswork Children's Museum in Frankfort.

Discovery Center Museum in Rockford

Chicago Children's Museum

Field Museum masks are recommended.

The Museum of Science and Industry masks required in certain areas

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum masks recommended, not required.

The Art Institute is open with advanced ticket purchase.

Click here to see information about Free Museum Days for Chicago Museums

Lincoln Park Zoo

Brookfield Zoo

Cosley Zoo in Wheaton

Sky Zone in Joliet is open and has a Little Leapers program for kids age 7 and under See their calendar for details.

Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park both located in LaSalle County are great places to get outside and enjoy nature!

Theatres with Sensory Friendly Movie Times

AMC Theatres in New Lenox, Naperville, Lombard and Morris

Marcus Theatres in Orland Park and Chicago Heights

NGC Cinema in Yorkville

Emagine in Frankfort

Eagle Theatre in Streator

Special Recreation Associations host virtual and in-person events for kids of all ages:

Early Intervention Extended Summer Services

Early Intervention Extended Services allows for children who turn 3 years old over the summer to continue to receive their current EI services through the summer months until the school year begins. EI Extended services are available to all children currently in Early Intervention who meet the following criteria:

  1. Turn 3 years old between May 1st and August 31st
  2. and who have been evaluated at their school district and qualify for an IEP (Individualized Education Program).

For more information on Extended EI services please read about Extended EI services on the EI Clearinghouse, or contact your service coordinator.

Reduce the Wait Project - Autism Evaluations for Children in Early Intervention

If your child is in Early Intervention and you would like to have them evaluated for Autism, you may be eligible to participate in a home-based virtual autism evaluation through Northwestern University!

For more information on this project:

The Reduce the Wait (RTW) Project is a research study conducted by the Early Intervention Research Group (EIRG) at Northwestern University. This research project aims to reduce the autism diagnostic waitlist by providing families enrolled in Illinois Part C Early Intervention with a virtual autism diagnostic experience. If an Autism Diagnosis is given to your child, this diagnosis will be recognized by insurance. If you are currently on a waitlist to have a Medical Diagnostic Evaluation through EI, you may remain on the waitlist while you participate in this project.

Connect with one of the CFC 15 Parent Liaisons

A parent liaison in EI works to support families and help to answer a family's questions. There are 5 Parent Liaisons at CFC 15 and we each have a different journey that we have traveled with our own children. Pictured are the CFC 15 Parent Liaisons (from left to right), Juli Thornton, Melissa Ball, Julia Bartczak, Karen Principato, and Kelli Coleman.

All parent liaisons at CFC 15 have experience raising a child with special needs and are also experienced service coordinators. If you would like to read more about the experiences of each of our Parent Liaisons, click here to learn about their EI journeys.

Parenting is challenging, and we can relate to the situations you may be experiencing with your child from having been through similar experiences. We can be a place of support and a non-judgmental listening ear for all families. We are available via email to answer questions and support you on your journey. Please contact us with your questions or concerns at ParentLiaisons@SvcIncofIL.org and we will connect you with a parent liaison to best fit your needs.

Information on Early Intervention Visits

If you or a member of your family is sick please contact your Early Intervention providers and cancel any upcoming in-person visits.

If you have to cancel your In-person visit for any reason, consider trying a Live Video Visit for that week! Please reach out to your Early Intervention providers or your service coordinator with any questions.

If you want to learn more about Early Intervention Video visits, watch these videos from ETCA (Early Childhood Technical Assistance) Center of families talking about their experiences with EI Video Visits.

Please take a moment to review this information from the Early Intervention Clearinghouse on Considerations for Families regarding Early Intervention Service Delivery. There are several options to consider:

Families along with their service coordinator and Early Intervention team can create a plan using the above service delivery options for EI services that works best for their child and family.

If you would like to have EI live video visits but do not have internet or a device to use for the visits, the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse has a device loan program for all families in Early Intervention.

Available technology includes: Ipads, hotspots, & Ipad stands. To apply to receive a device from the EI Clearinghouse, please complete the Device Loan Request Form.

Family Support Resources


Parent/Family Support Programs:

Special Needs Mom Squad is an organization in Lombard that offers resources and supports for families with Special Needs.

Diaper Depot is a program of United Way of Will County. Families in need can pick up FREE pre-packaged diaper packets once a month from one of three locations in Will County. Click the link for more information.

Text for baby is an app that helps you track you babies, health, growth, and development from birth through your babies first year.

The Arc of IL has an Assistive Technology Consumer Stipend Program which provides funds to to pay for the assistive technology (Ipads, tablets, laptops etc) needed to attend virtual events and meetings for people with developmental disabilities and their family members. Click to download the application. Any questions? Call 815.464.1832 ext 1010.

Free ACES Parenting class held at We Care in Morris. This 5 week program runs periodically throughout the year and usually meets from 5-7pm, with meals and childcare provided. If your child has experienced trauma or if trauma is impacting your ability to parent call 815-942-6389 for more information on this program.

2-1-1 is now available in all counties 211 is a 24/7 resource/crisis line that families can call to get connected to local human services and crisis intervention resources in their area.

9-8-8 is a new mental health suicide and crisis hotline that is free, confidential and available 24/7 to anyone experiencing mental health related distress.

The IL Cares for Kids website was created to support all IL families with children from birth through school age. On this site you can search for preschool programs in your area. Parents can also sign up for a FREE text program called Ready4K for families with kids ages 0-11.

  • Families can expect to receive 3 texts a week with fun facts and tips on ways to help their child learn and grow, as well as links to local resources.
  • TEXT IL4KIDS to 70138 to register or visit illinoiscaresforkids.org

Aunt Martha's Healthy Families Program in Cook, Will, & Kankakee Counties has a home visiting Program to support new and expectant parents. Click the link for more information.

The Jump Start homevisiting Parental Training Program is a parenting enrichment program offered in Will, Grundy, Kankakee and LaSalle counties. It is a free program that offers parent education and family support services throughout pregnancy until your child is 3 years old. In Will and Grundy Counties contact 815-725-2194 and ask to speak to someone in the Jump Start Program, or in Kankakee County call Tyler at 815-600-9744. Families can also enroll online. For more information on this great program check out their facebook page. See their current flyer here.

Easter Seals has a Parent's Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Support Group or other Social Interaction/Communication Disorder that meets via Zoom. Email Alicia ahann@joliet.easterseals.com for the zoom link to join. They also offer a Spanish Speaking group

Easter Seals in Joliet has Summer groups that run June 13th - August 5th. They have a Mommy and me Sensory Play for ages 0-3, a play based group for ages 2-5, and more groups for all ages!. All groups are only $150 for the summer! To register call Alicia at 815-207-6071.

Erikson Center for Children and families is offering in-person and virtual mental health services to parents, caregivers, and children focusing on prenatal to 8 years old. Services available in English and Spanish. For more information contact their intake line at 312-709-0508 for English and 312-934-6446 for Spanish.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities is Chicago’s Metropolitan Area Parent Training and Information Center and supports families in 8 IL counties including Will & Grundy Counties. Call 312-939-3513, email: info@frcd.org, or go to the FRCD facebook page

Family Matters Parent Training and Information Center supports families in 94 IL counties including LaSalle and Kankakee Counties to provide information, referral, linkages, and training to parents, students with disabilities, and special education professionals. They can be contacted toll-Free: 1-866-4FMPTIC (1-866-436-7842), or FMPTIC facebook page.

The Illinois Respite Coalition has a Free statewide respite hotline. If you are in need of respite services please call 866-455-7377.

Will County Center for Community Concerns in Joliet has many supports for low income families. See below for information on some of their programs or call 815-722-0722:

Please check out the many great resources on the Early Intervention Clearinghouse website, such as their Spring Newsletter with great information on Responsive feeding with young children.

To view additional informational online resources for families related to Early Intervention and Child Development please click here.

Is your Child Turning 3 soon and Graduating from Early Intervention?

Do you understand the Transition process out of Early Intervention when your child turns 3? Here are a few resources to help you during this time.

If you have any questions about your child's transition out of the Early Intervention Program, please reach out to your service coordinator.

Got Medicaid? Get Ready to Renew!

Medicaid customers have not had to renew their Medicaid coverage since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Medicaid pays for healthcare, like doctor visits, prescription medicine, and urgent emergency services. Illinois is starting renewals again and everybody's renewal date is different, so it is critical that you get ready to renew. 

Don't risk losing your Medicaid! Here is what you need to do:

Click Manage My Case at abe.illinois.gov to:

  1. Verify your mailing address under "Contact Us."
  2. Find your due date (the "redetermination" date) in your "Benefit Details." 

Watch your mail and complete your renewal right away. Call 1-800-843-6154 for help with your renewal. 

If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, connect to coverage at work or through the official Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace for Illinois GetCoveredIllinois.gov

Do you know someone who needs help with groceries?

My Pantry Express is an online food pantry that gives those in need of food assistance, the opportunity to shop once a week for a variety of free grocery items. Items can be picked up from multiple locations in Will County. Please click the link for details.

No income or residency restrictions apply.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank has a list on their website of upcoming Mobil Food Pantries and Pop up Markets listed monthly by county. Both types of distributions are currently using a drive-thru model. Everyone is welcome – no ID or referral is needed.
Will County has created Food Access Maps where you can locate food pantries, micro pantries, mobile food pantries, and community gardens in Will and some of the surrounding counties.

Find Food IL Community Food map allows you to search by zip code for food pantries, School meal sites, grocery stores, and SNAP & WIC offices.

The Salvation Army in Kankakee has a walk through family-choice food pantry open Tuesdays from 10:00am-12pm-1:00-3:00pm. 148 Harrison Ave in Kankakee.

To get information or help with your SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) application click the link or call 844-600-SNAP.

About Us:
Visit our website
Child and Family Connections #15 is the regional office serving as the point of entry for children and families into the Illinois Early Intervention Program. CFC #15 serves children age 0-3 year and their families in Will, Grundy, Kankakee, and LaSalle Counties.
For more information about the Illinois Early Intervention Program, please visit:
**The events and information contained in this newsletter are not sponsored by Child and Family Connections #15. This newsletter contains information from many different agencies and organizations and is provided to families as a resource.**