Dedicated to strengthening
the lives of Chicago children, families and communities
The Department of Family and Support Services, Children Services Division is dedicated to helping Chicago's youngest residents make the most of their lives and potential. We manage Head Start, Early Head Start, child care and youth programs throughout Chicago. We work on behalf of families to ensure they receive quality programming.
Latest Provider News
Aim4Excellence Opportunity for Administrators of DFSS Programs
Aim4Excellence™ is an online national director credential for early childhood administrators. The credential focuses on the essential knowledge and skills needed to deliver high-quality programming for young children. The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) and McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership are pleased to offer a full scholarship Aim4Excellence opportunity to administrators of DFSS programs.
Online Learning through the Aim4Excellence Modules
Over the course of 10 months, participants will complete the nine Aim4Excellence online modules to earn the Aim4Excellence National Director Credential.
Face-to-Face Learning Community
Participants will move through the Aim4Excellence modules in a community of practice supported by a facilitator. Participants will meet monthly for face-to-face meetings at the Chicago campus of National Louis University. The model is designed to help participants reflect, process, and implement the information from each module.
Participants will receive a total of 15 quarter hours (the equivalent of 9 semester hours) of undergraduate college credit from National Louis University.
Points Toward the Illinois Director Credential
Beginning in July of 2016, Illinois directors will need the Illinois Director Credential to meet the Director Qualifications standards for the Silver or Gold Circles of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois. The Aim4Excellence modules help meet the Education and Training in Early Care & Education Administration component of the Illinois Director Credential. Points will be notated on participants’ Certificate of Completion for each Aim4Excellence module. View details.
This project is funded by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) and is offered at no cost to participants.
DATES: Limited slots are available to start in early November.
As interest builds for the DFSS Aim4Excellence program, new cohorts may be announced, along with corresponding schedules. Participants will attend monthly face-to-face meetings and complete the online modules independently between meetings. See the “to apply” instructions below to add your name to the list.
REQUIREMENTS: Participants will be required to:
- Attend the welcome meeting and 80% of monthly meetings;
- Submit each module within the 30-day required turnaround;
- Actively participate in the monthly meetings;
- Successfully complete all modules with a 70% or above; and
- Adhere to the Aim4Excellence Terms and Conditions.
2015 Center for Family & Community Leadership (CFCL) Workshops
The Center for Family and Community Leadership is hosting a series of workshops for Head Start and Early Head Start Family Support Workers and Social Service Staff. These workshops will provide information on engaging families, building a volunteer program, and strengthening program planning strategies, and more.
Engaging Families from the Start
Date: October 27, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Room 106, Chicago, IL 60653
Resource and Volunteer Promotion Program: Volunteer Management
Date: November 3, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: 1640 W. Roosevelt Road, Room 166, Chicago, IL 60608
Growing Your Parent, Family, & Community Engagement (PFCE)
Date: November 18, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: 1640 W. Roosevelt Road, Room 166, Chicago, IL 60608
Click here for more information.
Free parking is available for all workshops. To Register, Please Log In to COPA
Young Children as Powerful Learners: Breaking the Standards Barrier
In celebration of Head Start's 50th Anniversary, Columbia College Chicago's Education Department and Crossroads for Learning invite you to attend a three-day seminar with keynote speakers Tiziana Filippini from Reggio Emilia, Italy and Teresa Acevedo from Child Parent Centers Inc., Tucson, Arizona.
Dates: October 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2015
Scholarships are available for DFSS Early Head Start and Head Start Programs. Please see the attached flyer for more information. The deadline to register for this event is September 25th.
Chicago Public Schools Child Find Screening Program
Chicago Public Schools offers FREE early childhood developmental screenings for children birth to 5 within the boundaries of the city of Chicago. This screening includes the following components: cognitive/academic, communication, fine/gross motor, and social emotional skills.
Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
This service is free and is an excellent learning check-up for young children. It can also be used to assure families that their child is developing age appropriately, as well as identify children who might benefit from early intervention services. No appointment is necessary.
'All About That Base' Head Start Parent Conference
Parents are the Base!
The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), in partnership with UIC Center for Literacy and the Illinois Head Start Association (IHSA) present the first annual Head Start Conference, "All About That Base."
Saturday, August 29, 2015
9am - 4pm
Special Parent meeting forum on Friday, August 28, 2015 from 9am - 12pm.
McCormick Place | 2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive, South Building
Click here for more information.
Policy Changes to the Child Care Assistance Program Effective July 1, 2015
Changes are being implemented to reduce CCAP expenditures due to significant projected FY'16 funding shortfalls. CCAP will operate under restrictive polices until sufficient resources are available to serve all eligible applicants. If additional funding is approved for CCAP, some of these changes may be repealed.
- Parent Co-payments are being increased effective to all cases processed on July 1, 2015 or after with a start date of 7/1/15 and after.
- Co-payment adjustments for existing cases will occur at the next redetermination.
- Effective for new applications received on or after July 1, 2015, the Department is imposing prioritized eligibility guidelines to all new Applications. In the event the Department must limit participation due to insufficient appropriations, applicants will be prioritized as follows:
A) Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families as described in subsection (c)(1);B) Teen parents enrolled full-time in elementary, high school or GED classes to obtain a high school degree or its equivalent;C) Families with Special Needs children;D) Working families whose monthly incomes do not exceed 50% of the most current Federal Poverty Level for their family size.
- Exemptions for part day, transient children cared for temporarily, or special activity programs (Exemptions 6, 8 and 9) do not support a child’s development or a parents need to work and will no longer receive funding through the Child Care Assistance Program.
Strengthening Outcomes for Families Through Cross Collaborations
This training will provide an opportunity for child welfare, education, and homeless service providers in Chicago to learn each other’s systems. Join us to get an overview of the
homeless service system, the child welfare system, and the early education system. This training will also provide information from system experts on strategies to advocate for services. Breakout session topics include: Coordinated Access/Centralized Referral System, Comprehensive Community Based Youth Services, Statewide Provider Database, McKinney Vento, Housing Resources, Child WellBeing, Extended Family Support Program, Mandated Reporting, Harm Reduction, and more!
Free CEUs will be provided to professionals with their LSW, LCSW, LPC, or LCPC.
Date: Tuesday June 30, 2015
Time: 9am-5pm (Registration begins at 8:30am)
Location: Northwestern Law School | 375 E. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60601
To register, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KG33SGL by Friday June 26.
Dear Parents and Staff of Head Start and Early Head Start Children,
As the Medical Consultant for Head Start I am encouraging all of you to check the immunization records for the children and yourselves to determine if you or your children are at risk for contracting Measles during this epidemic. Your health care provider can give your further direction. Please read the information below.
WHAT IS MEASLES? Measles is a preventable communicable disease caused by the measles virus. It is a respiratory disease that can have serious life-threatening complications. In the year 2000, measles was eliminated and declared no longer endemic (common disease) in the United States. Therefore, the recent confirmed cases of measles in the United States are considered part of an epidemic (more than usually expected). In the past week, there have been 5 confirmed cases of Measles in Palatine, IL in infants that attend the same day care center. These infants are too young to routinely receive the Measles vaccination.
ROUTINE IMMUNIZATIONS: The Measles vaccination (immunization) is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Council on Immunization Practices. The initial dose is between 12 and 15 months. The second or booster is recommended between 4 and six years of age. Children receiving the measles immunization following this schedule are 95% likely to have immunity against Measles. See http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/
IMMUNIZIING THE COMMUNITY: Infants under the age of 12 months have no significant immunity against measles. This is why it is so important that all other children and adults receive these immunizations. The reason this is effective is “Herd Immunity”. This means that all others around the unvaccinated person are immune and should not catch disease. Hence the community or “herd” shelters the weakest one(s) from the disease by not exposing them. All eligible children should be vaccinated against Measles as well as adults with no history of vaccination or physician diagnosed history of Measles.
RISK COMPLICATIONS OF MEASLES: The risk of complications of Measles is highest in young infants and those over 20 years of age. The complications may be something manageable like an ear infection, suffered by one in 20 children with Measles. A more serious and life threatening complication is pneumonia. Pneumonia is the Measles complication that most often leads to death. Encephalitis (swelling of the brain) is suffered by 1 in a thousand persons with Measles and may lead to brain damage and/or death.
Written by Joyce M. Smith, M.D., MPH
DFSS Head Start Medical Consultant
View DFSS Cover Letter: English | Spanish
View Measles Memo: English | Spanish
View Measles Fact Sheet: English | Spanish
Head Start/Early Head Start Home Based/Home Visiting Program Guidance
The Department of Family and Support requires all HS/EHS programs operating the Head Start Home Based program option to adhere to the following guidelines based on the Head Start Performance Standards 45 CFR 1306.33 and CFR 45 1304 and Sec. 645A (i)(2)(A-G). The Head Start/Early Head Start home-based program option includes families and children from prenatal to five-years-old.
The HB program is comprehensive and addresses all service areas of the Head Start Performance Standards. The services are delivered by home visitors through parents as the first teachers of their children during the home visits and group socializations. In addition, home visitors in the Home Based programs are required to conduct one 90 minute home visit per week and two 90 minute group socializations per month each for at least 90 minutes. The caseload per home visitor is no more than 10-12 families.
Welcome to the United States Guidebook
This COR Center publication, frequently referred to as the Welcome guide, was developed at the request of the Department of State, Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The Welcome guide is designed to support overseas Cultural Orientation, as well as for use in initial domestic orientation or by refugees directly.
See more at: http://www.culturalorientation.net/providing-orientation/toolkit/welcome/welcome-to-the-united-states-guidebook#sthash.Qu56DzLy.dpuf
Chicago Early Childhood Program Locator
Finding quality Early Childhood Education programs for your child has never been this easy! Whether you are looking for a program near your home or near your job, the Chicago Early Childhood Program Locator can help you find what you're looking for. There are many Early Childhood Education programs for children ages 3 to 5 with varying services, hours and fees-- whether it's a half day at your neighborhood public school or a full day at your community center.
Click here to locate a Chicago Early Childhood Program
FY 2014 Office of Head Start Monitoring Protocol
Letter from Mayor Emanuel
A letter from Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the city's investments in early learning:
View full letter
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,
As Mayor of the City of Chicago, I believe the most important thing we can do for our city is set our children on a path for success. I am committed to providing every student in Chicago with a world class education - from cradle to career, from pre-kindergarten to college, regardless of where they live. There is no better foundation we can provide for our children's success and our city's future than the critical investments we are making in early childhood education.
Professional Development Scholarship Information
In order to assist Delegate Agency Staff in meeting their educational goals, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) is offering virtually full coverage of tuition and possibly books and fees (some institutions may require a minor charge). In order to take advantage of these opportunities, please review the general requirements listed below before you apply.
1. Applicants must be a current employee in a DFSS Funded Head Start, Early Head Start, Family Child Care Home, Child Care, or Child Care Collaboration program.
2. Applicants must be in good standing at their current place of employment.
3. Upon completion of their chosen educational program, applicants must commit to maintaining employment for 3 years in a DFSS funded HS, EHS, or FCCH program.
4. Applicants must submit a completed DFSS Scholarship Application form along with a letter of recommendation from the Agency, Program or Site Director. Letters of recommendation for Partner Sites must be certified and completed by DA. These materials should be mailed to:
City of Chicago - Department of Family and Support Services
1615 W Chicago Ave - 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60622
5. DFSS will maximize additional resources in conjunction with the scholarship including Gateway to Learning, Pell Grants, etc.
6. Acceptance of application is contingent upon verification of educational data in COPA.
Scholarship Application | School-Age Scholarship Application | Professional Development Opportunities Booklet
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