Maternal Depression and Social Supports
- The Mothers and Babies Program at Northwestern University offers resources for new moms about maternal depression and the importance of social supports.
- The Illinois Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) offers information on obtaining a medical card for your baby. DHFS’s web site has a Medical Program Brochures Numerical Listing page where you will find the following forms for your use:
- Form HFS 469I – How to Get a Medical Card and Primary Care Provider (PCP) for Your Baby (English)
- Form HFS 4691S – How to Get a Medical Card and Primary Care Provider (PCP) for Your Baby (Spanish)
Well-Child Care Visits
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed a set of comprehensive health guidelines for well-child care, called Bright Futures, for pediatricians to follow. Each well-child visit has an age-appropriate pre-visit questionnaire that are designed for parents. You will notice the questions focus on developmental milestones, nutrition, safety, your child and family’s emotional well-being, and recommendations from the AAP. Click here for the age-appropriate pre-visit questionnaires.
Developmental Milestones and Developmental Screening
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that Well-Child Care Visits occur at particular times in a child’s development. Click here for the AAP schedule designed for parents.
- Easter Seals offers a free and confidential on-line screening tool that parents can use to help guide and keep track of your child’s growth and development during their first five years of life.
- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services launched its Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive initiative, which offers resources for parents about developmental milestones and developmental screenings, including a Developmental Screening Passport to track your child’s screening history and results.
Healthychildren.org is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and offers a variety of resources for parents (including articles, tip sheets and other parent-friendly materials) that are offered in both English and Spanish.
- Click here to view the most up-to-date immunization schedules and an easy-to-read guide for parents.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a variety of articles about emotional wellness and building resilience in children.
The Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition sponsored the Look through their Eyes campaign, which offers information about childhood trauma and informative resources for parents, including books and videos. It’s an unfortunate truth – childhood trauma exists. If you’re like most of us, the very phrase “childhood trauma” automatically strikes a note of fear. No one wants it to happen and no one wants to see trauma in a child they love. Unfortunately, childhood trauma does happen. But there is hope. You can do something to prevent, identify and overcome trauma for your child. It all starts when you Look through their Eyes.
Mobile Apps for Families
- Text4baby offers free text messages to keep you and your baby healthy; it is designed for pregnant moms and moms with babies under 1 years old.
- HealthyChildren.org publishes a series of mobile apps for parents and families on a variety of topics.
- Find an early learning program in Illinois: Illinois has a new quality rating process available for child-care providers, using different “star levels” to rate the quality of the child-care provider. For children in child-care, affordable, quality child-care is essential to a child’s health and future workforce potential. In addition, if a child-care provider receives quality rating designation, he/she gets higher child-care subsidies from the state, improving the financial stability of the provider and adding increased wages to the local economy.
- Child Care Assistance Program in Illinois: Illinois offers financial support for child care for eligible families.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a variety of articles about good nutrition for children.
Early Childhood Programs in Illinois
- Illinois Early Childhood Program Inventory: The Inventory provides a comprehensive list of programs in Illinois that support Illinois’ children (from birth through age 8) and their families as compiled by Illinois Action for Children. The Inventory provides an overview of Illinois’ Early Childhood System including programs offered by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
- Video series addressing various aspects of the Illinois early childhood system – including home visiting, Head Start, the child care assistance program, Early Intervention, TANF and WIC, and Special Education – can be viewed here. This series of videos was prepared by Illinois Action for Children.
- If you’re struggling to care for a baby who is fussy, crying excessively, or has difficulties with sleeping or feeding, contact the Fussy Baby Network’s “warmline” at 888.431.BABY (2229) for telephone support nationwide. When you contact the Fussy Baby Network, an infant-parent specialist will listen to your concerns, provide support, and work with you to find effective ways to care for your baby. All services are available in English and Spanish and are offered free of charge. You can also request a home visit within the Chicago metropolitan area, or receive help from our partner organizations around the country in the National Fussy Baby Network. The Fussy Baby Network is an initiative of Erikson Institute, the nation’s premier graduate school in child development, and its infant-parent specialists are familiar with all the latest research on infant crying, sleeping, and feeding issues and are available for private, in-home consultations, or to talk with you on the phone. Watch a video about the Fussy Baby approach.
- Click here to watch a short video about the safe sleep that was part of the B’more Babies Safe Sleep Campaign. The B’more for Healthy Babies is built on the realization that reducing infant deaths will happen only if people throughout the community play a part. The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Program implemented a communication campaign across the city of Baltimore to share messages about infant safety and family health to all residents of Baltimore.
- Have questions about breastfeeding? The National Breastfeeding Help Line is 1-800-994-9662. At the help line, you can talk with trained breastfeeding peer counselors, who can help answer common breastfeeding questions in English or Spanish. The U.S. Office on Women’s Health staffs the help line and also provides a variety of other resources related to breastfeeding that can be accessed by clicking here.
- A breastfeeding pocket card, prepared by the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, can be accessed by clicking here.
Promoting Social and Emotional Development
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education have partnered with Too Small to Fail to release a toolkit on social and emotional development for young children. The toolkit includes the following resources that parents may find useful:
- Bedsider.org is an online birth control support network for women 18-29 operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private non-profit organization. The Bedsider website offers information about methods of birth control, and an app for birth control reminders.
This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number HRSA-16-172 Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program – Formula. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
It takes a village. Illinois home visiting collaborates with numerous partners in order to support young children and families. These partners include:
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago • Children’s Home + Aid • Easter Seals • Ever Thrive Illinois • Family Focus • Fussy Baby Network at the Erikson Institute • Heartland Alliance • Illinois Action for Children • Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health • Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics • Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership • Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition • Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence • Latino Policy Forum • Metropolitan Family Services • Mothers and Babies Program at Northwestern University • Prevent Child Abuse Illinois • Robert R. McCormick Foundation • Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law • The Irving Harris Foundation • The Ounce of Prevention Fund • Voices for Illinois Children