Helping Us Grow (HUG) is a FREE prevention initiative home visiting program funded by the Illinois State Board of Education that serves families withchildren birth to three, as well as pregnant women who are experiencing significant life stressors in McHenry County. HUG provides high quality services that follow the Parents as Teachers curriculum, which is an evidence-based early childhood model that builds strong communities and thriving families with children who are healthy, safe and ready to learn.

We believe that parents are their child’s first and most important teacher.  Evidence shows that the experiences that parents provide to their children in the first few years of life lead to their children’s success.  Children come into this world ready for love and learning.  But parenting is hard and children are not born with directions! Parents join together with their parent educator to develop goals and plan what they want to happen through their home visiting experience.  Each visit is designed to support parents in three main areas: positive parent-child interactions, child development and family wellness.  We work together to build stronger relationships within families and improve overall family well-being. 

Eligibility is based on a variety of life stressors.  Some of these include:

  • Teen pregnancy/parenting
  • Single parenting
  • Families accessing WIC, SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, or CCAP
  • Early Intervention involvement
  • Primary language other than English
  • Housing instability
  • Caregiver other than parent raising child

Services through HUG include:

  • Regular, ongoing home visits
  • Group Connection opportunities, including playgroups, presentations and opportunities to meet other families
  • Assistance with transitioning to the local school district or community preschools at age three