What help is there for foster parents?
Foster families provide children with the one thing they need most: love. DCFS and our nonprofit partners provide a wide range of assistance to foster families to ensure a safe, loving home and brighter future for foster kids, including:
- Caseworkers to meet the particular needs of your family and foster children;
- Health insurance coverage for foster children that includes both medical care and prescriptions;
- Therapy, counseling, academic counseling and special education services when needed;
- Training programs, support groups and newsletters geared to foster families;
- Monthly stipend for the foster child's basic needs, including: food, clothing and housing costs;
- Daycare, after-school care, and funding for extracurricular activities including sports and art programs for eligible children in foster care; and
- Highly-trained DCFS staff available through our Foster Parent Helpline (866-368-5204) and Advocacy Office (800-232-3798) to provide additional support.
Foster Parent Support Specialists (FPSS)
- Foster Parent Support Specialists (FPSS) work with licensed DCFS foster families or relative caregivers to prevent placement disruption, promote family reunification, stabilize foster care placements and facilitate youth development. For more information, read the FPSS brochure in English and en español.
Service Provider IDentification and Exploration Resource (SPIDER)
The Service Provider IDentification and Exploration Resource (SPIDER) is a free, comprehensive service resource database for youth and families in Illinois. SPIDER connects you to nearby organizations offering programs and services to support children and families, including detailed information on more than 1,700 agencies and over 4,200 social service programs. All agencies and programs are geo-coded to allow you to locate resources near your preferred location.
SPIDER provides detailed information on agencies and programs that offer mental health services, caregiver support, educational advocacy, vocational and employment training, mentoring, enrichment programs like leadership development and after school programs and much more. To begin using SPIDER, click here: spider.dcfs.illinois.gov. To learn more, read the SPIDER brochure in English or en español.
Virtual Training Center (VTC)
The DCFS on-line Virtual Training Center (VTC) is the entry point for training-related information and resources. Foster parents can use the Virtual Training Center (VTC) to:
- See training news and general information;
- Check available trainings;
- View/print training transcripts;
- Register and take on-line courses; and
- Download course materials to use in class or to access after training
To access the VTC, go to www.dcfstraining.org.