Family Support Network

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Family Support

What We Do


If you are frustrated over the lack of programs and funding to support your family member and you have not taken action to educate your legislators you have no one to blame but yourself. Please contact the Family Support Network. We will give you the information you need to feel confident. We can tell you who your legislator is. We can give you facts. We can give you figures. Please help. We need you.


If you would like to figure out who your legislators are, here’s the website that will do it:

If you would like to review current legislation or learn more about the Illinois General Assembly, this site will help:


Join the Family Support Network. We will put you on our mailing list and e-mail updates to you as necessary. Send a request to

What Are Home-Based Support Services & Family Assistance & How Can I Apply?


The Home-Based Support Services Program tailors services to help adults with developmental disabilities live at home. The Family Assistance Program makes monthly cash payments to families of children with severe developmental disabilities. Please note that there is no new funding being allocated for the Family Assistance Program.  No new families are being enrolled in this program.  Families who were selected for this program in years past continue to receive funding until they age out or otherwise exit. Families interested in learning about and/or applying for available supports and services should consult their Independent Service Coordination Agency to complete a PUNS (Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services) Form.



The Family Assistance Program pays a monthly stipend to help with the costs of caring for a child (age 17 or younger) with a severe mental disability. By state law, the monthly stipend is equal to SSI. This year (2007) that amount is $623 a month. No new families are being selected to receive funding through this program at the current time.

The Home-Based Support Services Program pays for supports and services to help adults (age 18 or older) become more independent living on their own or with their families. This year (2007) participating adults are eligible for supports and services equal to two times SSI or $1,246 a month if the participant is still in school or three times SSI ($1,869) if the participant is out of school.



Eligible disabilities: (These are fully defined in state statute 405 ILCS 80.)

  • Severe autism (children or adults)– a lifelong disability beginning in early childhood with severe disturbances in social interactions, communication, imaginative activity, and activities and interests.
  • Severe or profound mental retardation (children or adults)– a lifelong disability which results in a significantly sub-average intellectual functioning (IQ of 40 or below) and a severe or profound impairment in adaptive behavior.
  • Severe and multiple impairments(children or adults)– all of the following conditions beginning before age 18:
    • A developmental disability which constitutes a substantial handicap attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or a similar condition, and is expected to continue indefinitely.
    • Multiple handicaps in physical, sensory, behavioral or cognitive functioning which constitute a severe or profound impairment.
    • Development substantially less than expected for the age in cognitive, affective or psychomotor behavior.
  • Severe mental illness(adults)– both of the following:
    • A primary diagnosis of schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar affective disorder, atypical psychosis or major depression (recurrent).
    • Functioning substantially impaired in areas such as self-maintenance, social functioning, activities of community living or work skills.
  • Severe emotional disturbance(children)– both of the following:
    • A primary diagnosis which meets criteria of a mental illness or emotional disturbance with onset in childhood or adolescence. (Not included in this definition are adjustment disorders, mental retardation, autism or other disorders based on physical impairment or alcohol/substance abuse.)
    • Severe long-term functional impairment substantially limiting two or more major life activities such as self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning and social interaction and lf-direction.

Eligible Residency

Participants may not live in a nursing home or in a facility licensed under the Child Care Act, but children and adults planning to move home with the program’s help can qualify.

Children must:

  • live with a biological, adoptive or foster parent or
  • live with a legal guardian.

Adults may:

  • live full-time in their own home or apartment,
  • live in a private home with a relative or guardian or
  • live together with as many as three unrelated adults (not service providers).

Income Eligibility

Adults must be eligible for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).

The household income for the eligible child must be less than $50,000 per year after deductions. (Look on your Income Tax Form for your family’s “taxable income.” If the child is a foster child, only his or her income is considered.)



Each participating family decides how to spend the money it receives. Families may use the money for such things as respite care, child care, therapy, medical expenses, family counseling, home remodeling to meet the child’s needs or for a special vehicle or other equipment.



Participating adults work with a “Service Facilitator” to design a package of supports and services designed to help them stay home, learn new skills, even get a new job. These services might include:

  • home health services
  • personal care services (help with dressing, etc.)
  • training and assistance in self-care (help with learning how to dress, cook meals, etc.)
  • habilitation and rehabilitation services
  • services related to finding a job, supported employment
  • respite care



Because the money for these programs is limited, only some of the eligible persons who apply will be selected to participate when funds become available.

To become eligible, families or individuals must work with their local “Pre-Admission Screening (PAS)” Agency to first complete the “PUNS” Survey and then submit an admissions “packet” to the Division of Developmental Disabilities for review. You can identify your local PAS agency on line at You may also call 1-888-DD-PLANS or 1-866-376-8446 (TTY).



If you have a question about the Home-Based Support Service Program or the Family Assistance Program, please contact the Family Support Network at 708-331-7370 or the State of Illinois Division of Developmental Disabilities at (217) 782-5918.

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