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Peer and Community Support

There are so many ways and resources to help build strong families.  Most often, strength comes when the caregiver is getting what he or she needs through positive reinforcement that can come through peer support, education or effective interventions.

These introductory sessions are aimed at ensuring that families are aware of the full array of adoption/guardianship sensitive services that are available to their child and family after legal permanency has been achieved. Many families leave the child welfare system without knowledge of the kinds of supports available to them or wait until their needs are too great to easily address, placing their child’s placement at risk. Seeking services early and often can have a positive effect on child and family stability.

As a result of the numerous traumatic experiences, loses, interruptions in attachment and development, as well as the other special needs of children in the child welfare system, it is normal and likely that families will need supports and services in the future as a child’s needs change over time. These services are available and are easy to access, but families need to be made aware of them and encouraged to seek them without feeling reluctant, guilty or less capable as parents.

ASAP agencies can help bridge that gap by providing families with the information they need about how they can be helped and how easy it is to obtain that help, whether for issues that are big or small.

Families can be referred to these introductory sessions by DCFS or POS staff, other families, by contacting the agencies directly or registering through the email address provided on the flyer.

Once they attend a meeting with their area ASAP agency, the staff at the agency will submit a form to DCFS training confirming the family’s participation and training credits will be awarded.

Help get the word out to your families about this training opportunity and be sure to refer families to the ASAP agency that serves their community, as a part of their preparation for becoming adoptive parents or guardians. These agencies, their locations and contact information can be found in the Post Adoption/Guardianship Services (CFS 1050-45) handbook available in DCFS Stores or on the D-Net, DCFS or on the home page of this site.

Support Means Strength

Families created through adoption or guardianship often face unique challenges that affect family stability. The path from "surviving" to " thriving" could be lengthy and arduous. The Adoption Support and Preservation Services(ASAP) provide continuous family-centered support that empowers family towards self-sufficiency. Working with professionals who will meet you where you are at and walk with you on the post-adoption journey will strengthen your family. Check out this Chicago Tribune article that outlines how our Illinois Families and ASAP agencies work together to do exactly that.

Path Beyond Adoption Workshops:

Are you in the process of Adopting or working towards Guardianship, have already done so or are considering doing so? Are you interested in finding out what life looks like Beyond the Adoption/Guardianship process? Please join us in a one hour long webinar, where you can learn about the various services, support groups, and make connections to other adoptive/guardianship or potential adoptive/guardianship parents and connections to service providers. Check out the list of various Workshops conducted by service providers in your area below and RSVP! We will have quarterly workshops and will update the new dates each quarter.

Central Region:

Hosted by LSSI

  • TBD

Hosted by The Baby Fold

Cook Region:

Hosted by Catholic Charities

  • TBD

Northern Region and Cook County Service Area:

Hosted by Metropolitan Family Services

Southern Region:

On-line Support

Social and digital platforms connect families to peer networks and other resources when and where you are ready with your device. There's an app for that!

Join the conversation on these DCFS channels

DCFS facebook @ IllinoisDCFS & DCFS Twitter

Be Strong Families

Be Strong Families has mastered the art of conversation with thought-provoking and enriching group discussions around the foster care and adoptive parenting experience.  Learn more and find a parent café near you, click the link above.

Center for Adoption Education and Support (C.A.S.E.)C.A.S.E. offers specialized adoption-competent in-person and teletherapy, case management, parent and teen support groups, and educational resources, including parent and professional trainings.  For more information on current or upcoming support groups, click the link above.

    A Support Group for parents in Racially Diverse Families

  • This support group will provide a space where interracial adoptive parents of children (and adults) of all ages can share their experiences about parenting children of a different race, while fostering a sense of community. This group will begin on April 17, 2024 7:00 pm-8:30 pm.  For more information on registraton, click the link above.  Or if you are looking for additional opportunities to join a group at a different date or time, please go to the C.A.S.E. website at the link above.

    Adult Adoptee Support Group

  • In honor of National Adoption Month, C.A.S.E. is excited to launch the Adult Adoptee Support Group, a support group for adult adoptees over 18.  The group begins April 4, 2024 at 7:00 pm-8:30 pm. For more information registration, click the lick above. Or if you are looking for additional opportunities to join a group at a different date or time, please go to the C.A.S.E. website at the link above.

Parent Support Groups Presented by The Baby Fold

Dads Sharpen Dads

De-escalating During a Meltdown 

Wednesday Parent Support Group

Parent Support Groups Presented by Brightpoint 

Monthly Virtual Group

United States Children's Bureau

The Children's Bureau (CB) focuses on improving the lives of children and families through programs that reduce child abuse and neglect, increase the number of adoptions, and strengthen foster care. CB is an office of the Administration on Children and Families.

AdoptUS Kids

AdoptUSKids is a national project that supports child welfare systems and connects children in foster care with families.

Life Books

This therapeutic tool is an entertaining and enlightening way to build a stronger foundation off a child's experiences before and after joining your family.

WBEZ Radio report on the importance of life books

The Power of Life Books article by Social Work Today