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
- Early Head Start
- Extended Family Support Program
- Family Advocacy Centers
- Health and Nutrition
- Home Visiting
- Housing Advocacy
- Immigration and Citizenship Support
- School and Center-Based Youth Enrichment Programs
- Trauma Support for Young Children and Families
The doula program connects pregnant women in our existing home visiting programs to trained doulas who provide support during the critical times of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum/early parenting. Our doulas also provide pregnancy and childbirth education, early linkage to health care and other services, labor coaching, breastfeeding promotion and counseling, and parenting education, while encouraging parental attachment. The program is based on the power of peer-to-peer support.
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 screenings
- Prenatal and parenting support
- Child development education
- Fitness and nutrition education
- Family planning education
- Crisis intervention
- Referrals to health care providers and other community services
- Support groups specifically for grandparents raising grandchildren
Extended Family Support
The extended family support program embraces the entire family, specifically when a relative unexpectedly becomes the primary caregiver to a child. Our program helps ease this transition and enhance caregivers’ ability to provide physical, emotional, and social development needs to the child while receiving support of their own as well.
Early Head Start
Our Early Head Start center-based programs serve infants and toddlers under the age of 3, and pregnant women. We provide intensive comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families, and to pregnant women and their families.
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.
Some of the curriculums used in home visiting include Beyond Parenting, BabyTALK, Parents as Teachers, and Healthy Families Illinois.
The housing advocacy program provides services to assist youth and families, referred by DCFS, whose goal is to “remain stable” or “return home” to locate and maintain adequate housing. Services are to promote permanency by maintaining, strengthening, and safeguarding the function of families to (1) prevent substitute care placement, (2) promote family reunification, (3) facilitate youth development, and (4) ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children.
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.
Our Head Start program is an early childcare and education program for children ages 3 to 5 from low-income families. This comprehensive program promotes school readiness, provides nutritious meals and access to free medical and dental services. In addition, we offer parents educational and training programs.
Hyde Park Preschool
5467 S. University Ave
7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Serves children from 6 weeks to 5 years old.
For general information about our preschool centers or to schedule a tour, please contact Pamela Flowers-Thomas, Center Director at (773) 643-0452 ext. 2414 or [email protected].
South Shore Preschool
7037 S. Stony Island
7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Serves children from 6 weeks to 5 years old.
To learn more about our South Shore preschool center or take a tour, please contact Phyllis White at (773) 363-3200 or [email protected].
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 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 performing arts, character development and socioemotional learning, life skills training, and more. Afterschool programs include:
Arts and Culture
The Arts and Culture program focuses on art and social-emotional growth that challenges youth to explore what art means to them individually. Youth will learn different elements of art, be introduced to several different art pieces, and will recreate their own art piece of choice.
Center-Based After-School Program
Center-based after-schools are offered onsite of a Family Focus center to youth 6-18 years old. Academic enrichment activities and tutorial services are designed to help students meet local and state academic standards in subjects such as reading and mathematics. We also provide recreation, STEM, art, music, dance, technology, character education to enhance the academic component of the program. Services are also provided to families of participating children.
The enrichment program provides Out of School Time (OST) to students 6-12 years old. The programs focus on academic, social, and emotional, prevention, community service projects, and health and wellness activities that enhance academic performance.
Our mentoring program provides mentoring and academic assistance for elementary school and high school students who have the desire to attend college, pursue a career in trade, stay goal-oriented, and reach their highest potential. Mentors assist participants with academic support, social development, college and career exposure choices, financial literacy, and many other aspects of career and life preparation that students find challenging.
21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CLCC)
21st CCLC provides school-based academic enrichment activities and tutorial services designed to help students aged 6-18 years old meet local and state academic standards in subjects such as reading and mathematics. We also provide recreation, STEM, art, music, dance, technology, character education to enhance the academic component of the program. Support services are also provided to the families of participating children.
Sustainable Community Schools (SCS)
The Sustainable Community School partnerships bring together the academic and social supports needed to ensure that all students succeed by offering programs before, during, and after the school day for students and their families. The programs are designed to support the school’s academic program and expand the services offered within the community.
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 centers serve different communities, each with its own needs and cultures, and therefore not every program is offered at each center. For more information on what programs are offered in your area, please visit our center page.