Parent/Caregiver Resources

We’ve put together this resource page to help you support your child’s play, health, and development right here in your community. Click on any topic below to see more resources. You can also find a library of videos about financial literacy, and many topics about child development and family health here

New and Expecting Parents (Baby Bundle Recipients)

Pregnancy and the “Fourth Trimester” 
Pregnancy and the first few months after a baby arrives (often called the Fourth Trimester) is an exciting time! Here are a few links to tips for taking care of your health and healing to ensure the very best start for your new baby. And if you haven’t yet, get your Baby Bundle here!

Breastfeeding
No matter what feeding approach you choose for your child, you are doing the right thing. We believe that “fed is best, whether bottle, breast, or chest” when it comes to feeding your baby. YOU are the expert on what you and your baby need and we celebrate all the ways that babies can be cared for, loved and fed. So, whether you decide to breastfeed, chestfeed, bottle feed, or a bit of everything, you have the support you need from us here at the Collaboration. You can find a few local breastfeeding groups and resources here.

Mental Health for Caregivers and Mothers
Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Life-changing events can bring lots of big feelings including joy, exhaustion, love, and also anxiety and sadness. If you are feeling bad, you can feel better. Call the Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance at 847-205-4455 or email support@ppdil.org or visit Postpartum Depression Alliance of Illinois. If you would like, or need, to speak to someone on the phone straightaway the National Maternal Health Hotline can help 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262). If you are in suicidal crisis, call or text 988 or visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline webpage

Home Visiting
Home Visiting is a way to reach your parenting goals. Partner up with a parent educator to learn about all aspects of your child’s development and get personalized support in meet-ups both inside and outside your home. This is completely free and offered year round to families with children birth to 5 years old. Parents can even start participating in programming when mom is expecting! Complete our contact form for families to learn more.

Other Helpful Links

  • Recommended Immunization Schedule [English] [Spanish]
  • WIC – The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a supplemental nutrition program focused on healthy eating for caregivers, babies and kids. This program can support you with health food, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, and connections to other supports if you need them. Visit WIC.
  • Families First | La Familia Primero – This is a parent-led group supported by the Collaboration for Early Childhood. Join a Parent Leadership Training, or attend one of their events to connect with other parents and caregivers with young children in the community with shared experience. Email familiesfirst@collab4kids.org or read more about Parent Leadership Training.

Child Development / Developmental Delays / Disabilities

Each child develops on their own timeline and not all children meet each developmental milestone at the same time. Some children will gain several new motor skills without developing new language skills or vice versa. This is typical as long as the child begins to master new skills in the other areas within a month or two. If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak to your child’s doctor.

Finding Quality Child Care

Get started by visiting our Choosing an Early Learning Program page. Then, browse our Early Childhood Resource Directory

Child Safety

Safety Quick Tips:

  • POISON CONTROL – 1-800-222-1222 – Keep poison hotline number posted at home and programmed into your cell phone. If you have a poisoning emergency, call Poison Control immediately (800-222-1222) or call 911 if the person is unconscious or has difficulty breathing.
  • Babyproofing – get on your hands and knees to explore your home for any safety risks from your child’s perspective. If a toy or object can slide through the inside of a toilet paper roll, it’s too small for a baby or preschooler.
  • Preventing burns – Turn the hot water heater temperature down to 120 degrees.
  • Lead poison prevention – lead is common in older homes and comes from two main sources: water from lead pipes and dust from lead paint. Make sure that the lead levels in your home are normal. Home testing kits are available at local hardware stores. If you are rehabbing an older home, review guidelines and procedures from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Water safety information can be found at CAST’s free resource library
  • More Safety Resources – Visit Healthy Children, a website for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics, to find more detailed information on many topics related to children’s health and safety, such as allergens, car seats, childproofing your house, first aid, lead poisoning, and water safety.

Local Police and Fire Departments:

Forest Park Fire Department
7625 Wilcox, Forest Park, 60130
Phone: 708-366-1234
Car seat check for residents.

Oak Park Fire Department
100 N. Euclid Avenue, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-445-3300
Email: fire@oak-park.us
Regularly scheduled CPR classes (free for residents, $50 fee for non-residents); certified safety technician will do free car seat check by appointment; bring child and car seat to fitting; if possible, bring manuals for car and car seat.

Oak Park Police Department – Community Policing
123 Madison Street, Oak Park 60302
Contact Phyllis Howard: 708-358-5514 or 708-386-3800
Resident beat officers work with residents to resolve neighborhood safety issues.

River Forest Fire Department
Phone: 708-366-7629
CPR classes offered to River Forest residents.

Other Health and Safety Resources:

American Red Cross Greater Chicago Chapter
Phone: 312-729-6100
Provides training in CPR and First Aid and babysitter training for teenagers.

Centers for Disease Control
Phone: 800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)
Provides health/safety information in English and Spanish 24/7.

Kids with Food Allergies Foundation Community
Food allergy management strategies for children and their families.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Child Safety
Child car safety information administered by the federal government.

Vision and Dental Information

Vision

Check with your health insurance provider to see if visits to an eye doctor and/or optometry services for eyeglasses are covered. If your health insurance does offer vision coverage, check the American Optometric Association’s website. If you have All Kids/Medicaid insurance, call the member hotline at 877-912-1999 to find an eye doctor in your area.

Dental

Start wiping your child’s gums and teeth with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad when teeth appear. At age 18 months, begin using a small soft-bristled toothbrush and water. At age three, add a pea-sized dab of toothpaste with fluoride when brushing. If your baby is being exclusively breastfed, your pediatrician or dentist may prescribe a fluoride supplement. Consult with a dentist or health care professional by the age of one to discuss your child’s teeth. Talk to your pediatrician about when your child should begin visiting the dentist. 

  • Baby Bottle Cavities: Baby teeth are prone to cavities very early on. Letting your child drink at will from a bottle containing milk, breastmilk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids can cause rapid and severe decay. Your child should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water.
  • Dental Exam Requirements: Illinois law now requires that children in kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades have proof of a dental exam; report cards can be withheld if parents do not take children to visit the dentist.

Resources for Resilience

Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Crisis

Sarah’s Inn
P.O. Box 1159, Oak Park 60304
Phone: 708-386-3305
Email: sarahsinn@sarahsinn.org
Comprehensive domestic violence services for children and women; individual and group counseling; parenting classes; court advocacy; abuser services; art therapy; computer training.

Catholic Charities
1400 S. Austin, Cicero 60804
Phone: 708-222-1491
708-329-4024 (Direct line to intake)
Food pantry, clothing, outreach for Medicare/LINK; referral to emergency assistance program; suburban shelter; family and elder services; counseling and psychotherapy; outreach to survivors of suicide; immigration; children and adolescent pregnancy program (CAPP); adoption services and intact family services program; respite services.

Maryville Academy Crisis Nursery
4015 N. Oak Park Avenue, Building B, Chicago 60634
Phone: 773-205-3637
Fax: 773-205-3633
Offers short-term care for children birth – age 6, for families experiencing crisis such as domestic violence, medical emergencies, or family instability.

Thrive Counseling Center
120 S. Marion Street, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-7500
Email: admission@thrivecc.org
24-Hour Crisis Line: 708-383-7500
Community mental health center with 24-hour crisis line; sliding fee scale; parent, family, and youth (ages 12 – 18) counseling; drug & alcohol prevention programs; bullying and conflict prevention programs; youth anger management; client advocacy and case management; victim and witness assistance program.

Family Affinity Groups

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
The Illinois Department on Aging, in cooperation with the Illinois Task Force on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, works to locate, assist and promote awareness of older caregivers who are currently raising their family’s children. Learn more and get connected to this network.

Infant Loss
There are no words to describe the pain and isolation of losing a child. Everyone grieves differently and though it sometimes might not feel like it, you are not alone. Connect with experience-specific support groups and find information about pregnancy and infant loss at the Postpartum Support International Loss and Grief in Pregnancy and Postpartum webpage.

LGBTQ Family Resources
The Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association+ is a local group that holds community events, including playdates for families with kids. Learn more about OPALGA+!

Parents/Caregivers Raising Children, Teens and Young Adults with Mental Illness
FRED, which stands for Friends and Resources for Each Day, empowers members with shared resources, skills, and knowledge and offers safety, acceptance, understanding, and confidentiality. FRED eases isolation through the giving and receiving of support among peers. Learn more about the group’s monthly meetings and large collection of resources.

Parents/Caregivers of Children with Disabilities
The Facebook Group, Parents of Extra Special Kids (Oak Park IL, and Surrounding Area) states: It’s an honor and a joy to discover the idiosyncrasies that make our children themselves. However, being the parent of a child who may be wired differently, have “special needs” (demonstrates “atypical” behaviors, learns in different ways, etc.) can also be isolating, complex and overwhelming at times. This group is for parents of kids at any point in the journey from a pediatrician (or you) suggesting an early intervention evaluation to having an IEP and beyond.” The group is private and caregivers can join by request.

Young Moms
New Moms‘ Family Support programs offer a wide range of service that utilize the Parents as Teachers model, which ensures that mothers become their child’s first, best teacher. Services include – doula, prenatal education, home visiting and parenting education.

Welcome to Fatherhood
Welcome to Fatherhood Inc. (WTF) is a nonprofit organization created to help dads of all ages cope with the pressures and stresses of being fathers. WTF’s purpose is to strengthen the family unit by empowering fathers and by enlightening them on the importance of positive, active, and engaged paternal roles to their children’s emotional, social, and spiritual development. Learn more at the Welcome to Fatherhood website and join the Welcome to Fatherhood Facebook group.

Food, Shelter, and Employment Support

Catholic Charities
1400 S. Austin, Cicero 60804
Phone: 708-222-1491
708-329-4024 (Direct line to intake)
Food pantry, clothing, outreach for Medicare/LINK; referral to emergency assistance program; suburban shelter; family and elder services; counseling and psychotherapy; outreach to survivors of suicide; immigration; children and adolescent pregnancy program (CAPP); adoption services and intact family services program; respite services.

CEDA (Community & Economic Development Assn.) Near West
6141 W. Roosevelt Road, Cicero 60804
Phone: 708-222-3824
A variety of services for income-eligible families including Family Case Management, Access to Care, Kid Care applications, Head Start, WIC, energy assistance (LIHEAP), weatherization, rent and mortgage assistance.

No Kid Hungry – Find free meals near where you are.

Beyond Hunger
848 Lake Street, Oak Park 60301 (basement of First United Church of Oak Park, enter thru parking lot)
Phone: 708-386-1324
Email: info@gobeyondhunger.org
Clients select an allotment of food once a month; assistance with food stamp applications. Clients must reside within service boundaries and meet income guidelines set by the Illinois Emergency Food Assistance Program; photo ID and proof of residence.

Housing Forward
1851 S. Ninth Avenue, Maywood 60153
Phone: 708-338-1724 / 888-338-1744
Emergency homeless shelter, supportive services & housing, employment readiness and one-time homelessness prevention program.

Home Visiting

Home Visiting is a way to reach your parenting goals. Partner up with a parent educator to learn about all aspects of your child’s development and get personalized support in meet-ups both inside and outside your home. This is completely free and offered year round to families with children birth to 5 years old. Parents can even start participating in programming when mom is expecting! Complete our contact form for families to learn more.

Local Hospitals and Health Centers

Insurance Coverage:

Illinois provides several insurance programs intended to serve uninsured or income-eligible families with children:

  • All Kids Provides comprehensive, affordable health insurance, regardless of immigration status or health condition. Call the All Kids Hotline: 1-866-ALL-KIDS (1-866-255-5437). Children can get All Kids health insurance if:
    • they live in Illinois;
    • they are age 18 or younger;
    • they meet the insurance requirements for All Kids; and
    • their family’s income meets the All Kids Income Limit.
  • FamilyCare: Provides health insurance for uninsured parents/caregivers who meet income eligibility guidelines. This program is available only for legal residents and U.S. citizens. For more information on All Kids and FamilyCare, call 866-ALL-KIDS (866-255-5437) or go to http://www.allkids.com.
  • Affordable Care Act: Get Covered Illinois information and assistance is available at the Oak Park Department of Public Health (email health@oak-park.us or call 708-358-5483), for Oak Park residents. Information is also available at Proviso Township Mental Health Commission (call 708-240-4435 or email affordablecare@ptmhc.org).

Local Health Centers:

The Children’s Clinic
Phone: 708-848-0528
Email: info@childrenscliniciws.org
Medical services including nutritional screening and counseling. Mental health services including bilingual psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Available to low-income children (birth – age 18). Medicaid, All Kids, sliding fee scale. No child is refused care for inability to pay.

Cook County Health Department
Multiple clinic sites; call 708-450-5300 for clinic times and locations. Preventative health services for Cook County residents; includes well-child care, immunizations, dental and postpartum care; some services have income eligibility guidelines; other services available to everyone at no cost.

PCC Family Health Centers
14 W. Lake St., Oak Park 60302
6201 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn 60402
Phone: 708-383-0113 / 708-386-0845
Breastfeeding Support Line: 708-524-7679, ext. 1. Both PCC locations offer lactation consultation and home visits, breastfeeding peer counseling program for PCC primary-care patients. Maternal depression support is available at both sites for PCC primary-care patients. Comprehensive health care for all ages, including prenatal care; accepts private insurance, Medicaid, All Kids, sliding fee scale discount program available for uninsured patients. Call for an appointment. Behavioral health services include family and couples counseling. In order to receive behavioral health services, you must be a PCC primary-care patient.

Rush Oak Park Hospital
520 Maple Avenue, Oak Park 60304
Phone: 708-383-9300
One of Oak Park’s two major hospitals; affiliated with Rush Hospitals.

Shriners’ Hospital
2211 N. Oak Park Avenue, Chicago 60707
Phone: 773-622-5400
Medical care free of charge for children under age 18 for certain orthopedic and neurological conditions, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, craiofacial surgery.

Tuberculosis Clinic- Cook County Dept of Public Health
7556 W. Jackson Blvd., Forest Park 60130
Phone: 708-836-8600
Free tuberculosis screening and treatment for suburban Cook County residents; several locations; please call for appointment.

West Suburban Medical Center
3 Erie Court, Oak Park 60302
Phone: 708-383-6200
One of Oak Park’s two major hospitals.

Mental Health & Social Emotional Development

If you are in suicidal crisis, call or text 988 or visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline webpage

Infant Loss

There are no words to describe the pain and isolation of losing a child. Everyone grieves differently and though it sometimes might not feel like it, you are not alone.

For postpartum depression information, click on the “New & Expecting Parents (Baby Bundle Recipients)” tab above.

  • Healthcare Alternatives – Is a non-profit organization providing behavioral health services to Chicago and the surrounding communities in multiple languages.
  • The Children’s Clinic – Provides full range of medical services including nutritional screening and counseling. Provides mental health services including bilingual psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Available to low-income children (birth – age 18). Medicaid, All Kids, sliding fee scale. No child is refused care for inability to pay. It is located at 320 W. Lake Street, Oak Park 60302. Phone: 708-848-0528. Email: info@childrenscliniciws.org
  • Pillars – Community mental health center offering a range of services including social services for children ages 2 – 17 and their families; child psychologist on staff; early childhood mental health; bereavement, crisis, individual and family counseling; (SASS); domestic violence shelter.
    Phone: 708-386-2100 / 708-745-5277; 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 708-485-5254; 24-Hour Sexual Violence Hotline: 708-482-9600
  • Thrive Counseling Center – Community mental health center with 24-hour crisis line; sliding fee scale; parent, family, and youth (ages 12 – 18) counseling; drug & alcohol prevention programs; bullying and conflict prevention programs; youth anger management; client advocacy and case management; victim and witness assistance program. Located at 120 S. Marion Street, Oak Park 60302. Phone: 708-383-7500. Email: admission@thrivecc.org. 24-Hour Crisis Line: 708-383-7500.

Support a strong start and a bright future.

We champion high-quality early childhood care and learning experiences and support for families so all children develop their full potential.