At Family Focus our support and life-enrichment services for children start at the prenatal stage and continue to the age of 18. We also serve families by giving parents the support, knowledge and resources they need to give their children the best possible start in life. Our programs include:
- Early Childhood Development
- Family Advocacy Centers
- Health and Nutrition
- Home Visiting
- Immigration and Citizenship Support
- School and Center-Based Youth Programs
- Trauma Support for Young Children and Families
Early Childhood Development
Family Focus offers services that help parents with children ages 0-5 enhance their ability to provide and advocate for their families. Education and support services for parents during the early years significantly contribute to positive, healthy, child-rearing practices, prevention of abuse and neglect, and success in school. Programs offered strengthen parental knowledge and skills, and reduce isolation.
- Home visits by a trained support worker
- Developmental screening
- Prenatal and parenting support
- Child development education
- Fitness and nutrition education
- Family planning education
- Crisis intervention
- Referrals to health care providers
- Referrals to community services, collaborating agencies
- Evidence-based curriculum, including: Parents as Teachers, BabyTALK, Healthy Families Illinois
- Support groups specifically for grandparents raising grandchildren
The Power of Fathers Collaborative is open to new fathers, teen fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and fathers trying to reconnect with their families and helps fathers learn positive parenting skills and build relationships with their children in a safe, welcoming setting. This group provides comprehensive family support, including family night cook-outs and family field trips. The 12-week program covers topics such as: father’s rights, ex-offender rights, job referrals, child support information, male-female relationships, grandfathering, parental self-esteem, domestic violence, child development, and more. The Power of Fathers Collaborative is in partnership with Children’s Home & Aid, Metropolitan Family Services, and Fathers, Families and Healthy Communities. Learn more about the Power of Fathers here.
Family Advocacy Centers
Known as FACs, staff called Family Support Workers (FSWs) partner with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to provide parenting classes and one-on-one support from a staff member to parents who have been reported to DCFS for potential abuse/neglect. This service has a big impact: Less than 2% of our families are re-reported to DCFS within 18 months in comparison to the Illinois state average of 32% re-reported.
Health and Nutrition
Promoting a healthy lifestyle for families benefit goes far beyond food an exercise, but also includes access to healthcare, and addressing barriers to preventative health education. A lack of nutrition contributes to inhibited growth and cognitive development and chronic diseases later in life, especially in low-income communities. Family Focus collaborates with local healthcare institutions and community organizations to teach healthy habits to parents and their children, provide healthcare resources and referrals to healthcare.
Home visiting addresses critical years of social, emotional, and cognitive development with the parents in the home. Home visitors meet with families in the environment where they spend most of their time and track progress along developmental domains to ensure that children are meeting critical developmental milestones. Home visitors establish a customized Individual Family Support Plan at enrollment that is tracked by parent-teacher teams throughout the year. Parent-child activities are designed to involve the parent and child in sharing and learning activities that foster gross motor, language, fine-motor, social, and emotional skills. Parent reflections and family support worker reports/observations during home visits help gauge parental knowledge of child development and attitudes regarding parent-child interactions. All of our services are provided by home visitors with extensive early childhood training.
Immigration and Citizenship Support
Family Focus provides immigrant families and individuals with bilingual services to provide pathways to success including assistance with citizenship process by accredited staff, DACA renewal, interpretation services, ESL and GED classes, citizenship classes, referrals to healthcare, education and employment resources, and more.
School and Center-Based Youth Programs
Serving children of all grade levels, after school activities are offered Monday-Friday. The time immediately following school hours is a time when a lack of a constructive activity or supervision due to a parent’s working schedule can lead to risk-taking behavior. Instead children are brought into an educational and safe environment with activities such as homework help, games centered around STEM lessons, literacy through creative writing, visual and preforming arts, character development and socioemotional learning, life skills training, and more.
Trauma Support for Young Children and Families
To help break the cycle of violence for families this program addresses trauma at the most critical stage in a child’s development and involves the entire family in the healing process. These interventions provide integrated therapy, case management and family support services tailored to the needs of each individual family. Mental health services include therapy for both children and adults, child-parent psychotherapy (CPP), and family therapy. In each approach the interventions focus on the caregiver, not the therapist, as the primary source of support for the child. Families work with their assigned therapist to create an Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP) based on the family’s concerns, goals, preferences, and the therapist’s assessments. These plans may also include referral to other appropriate resources within and outside of Family Focus services. Most services are home-based to accommodate families’ transportation costs, the challenges of readying a family for travel, privacy and confidentiality, and safety.
Catered to the community
Our seven centers serve different communities, each with their own needs and cultures and therefore not every program is offered at each center. For more information on what programs are offered at your local center, please visit our center page.