Welcome to Child & Family Connections of McHenry County. We are here to support you if you have concerns about your child’s development. The links to the left will provide more detailed information regarding this program and how it can help your child under the age of three and your family.

If you live outside of McHenry County, we can refer you to the agency that serves you area for these state funded services.

What Can Child & Family Connections do for you and your child?

Child & Family Connections (CFC) is the starting point for the referral of children under 36 months of age to the Part C Early Intervention Service System in Illinois. Our CFC office is staffed with the following personnel.

• Intake Coordinator
• Program Manager
• Service Coordinators
• Parent Liaison
• Social Emotional Specialist

Families have the opportunity to meet with a professional to provide education, support and guidance in accessing the next steps in the Early Intervention system.

What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention services are designed to meet an infant’s or toddler’s needs if they are experiencing issues related to 5 specific areas of development. These are:
• Physical (how your baby moves and explores)
• Cognitive (how your baby learns)
• Communication (how your baby lets you know what he/she needs)
• Social-Emotional (how your baby engages with you and shows feelings)
• Adaptive (how your baby uses new skills)

In Illinois, a statewide system called Early Intervention finds and helps arrange for services for children who are eligible for these services. The Principles of Early Intervention in Illinois can be seen by clicking here. This is done in conjunction with federal law that mandates developmental screenings and evaluations are arranged for children under 36 months. A chart indicating some general developmental milestones for children under 36 months can be seen by clicking here.

Another important feature to the Early Intervention program is the focus on providing services in natural environments. This refers to home and community settings in which children without disabilities would participate. The law governing early intervention services mandates that services be provided in natural environments. The principles of services in natural environments can be seen by clicking here.

Sixteen different services are available as needed to families of eligible children in the state of Illinois. These services include:

• Assistive technology and devices
• Audiology
• Developmental therapy
• Family training, counseling, and home visits
• Health consultation
• Medical services (diagnostic/evaluation purposes only)
• Nursing (during therapy sessions only)
• Nutrition
• Occupational therapy
• Physical therapy
• Psychological and other counseling services

How Do I Refer a Child?

• Initially
Referrals to Child & Family Connections (CFC) can be made by a family member, doctor, day care provider, or anyone concerned about the development of a child who is under 36 months old. To make a referral call, the Intake Coordinator at 815-477-4720 ext. 238.

The Intake Coordinator will take basic contact information for the child, who will then be assigned to a Service Coordinator (SC). The Service Coordinator will contact the child’s family to set up a meeting to obtain information and written permission from the parent/legal guardian to proceed. The SC will help the family understand their rights under Part C Early Intervention, including the right to free evaluations. The SC will help the family coordinate when and where the evaluations will take place.

• What Happens Next
Once a child is determined eligible, the SC will assist the family in determining desired outcomes (goals) for their child’s development through the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and then link families to services. The SC provides ongoing support and service coordination while the child is receiving services.

If a child is found ineligible for Early Intervention services, the SC and the Parent Liaison will help the family identify other resources to meet their needs.

If you have concerns about the development of your child who is over age 3, you can receive a screening through your local school district.  For the current contact information, dates and locations of upcoming screenings for each local school district, please click here.

Who is the Service Coordinator?

The first person you will need is your service coordinator. He or she will talk with you about your concerns about your child’s development, and guide you in the next steps of the program.
Your EI service coordinator has the following responsibilities:

• Serve as the first point of contact in the EI system
• Coordinate evaluations to determine eligibility for services
• Help families understand their roles and legal rights in the EI system
• Assist the family and other EI team members in developing and implementing the IF SP
• Contact the family monthly while the child is in EI
• Develop and maintain the case record for the child and family
• Assist the family in leaving EI services when the child turns three years of age.

Who is the Parent Liaison?

A Parent Liaison is the parent of a child who has received Early Intervention services. A Parent Liaison recognizes, from intimate and personal experience, the unique concerns parents of a child or children with special needs share, and can:

• Provide information about Early Intervention services
• Connect you with other parents with similar concerns
• Provide specific disability information
• Provide support when you need someone to just listen or when you want to talk to someone who’s “been there”
• Prepares and supports families for the transition out of Early Intervention
• Hosts educational workshops for parents

Contact: Angela Krambeer, 815-477-4720 ext.238 or Angela.Krambeer@opad.org

Who is the Social Emotional Specialist?

The Social Emotional Specialist is a mental health professional with a background in providing therapy services to infants, young children and their families.
Her role in the Child and Family Connections office is to support reflective, relationship based practice with both Service Coordinators and therapists in Early Intervention. She does this by offering training on issues related to infant mental health, early social emotional development, supporting parent child relationships, and by providing a place for CFC staff and therapists to reflect on their work. She is available to consult with therapists and service coordinators as needed. She also facilitates Parent to Parent events along with the Parent Liaisons.

Contact: Anna Kreller, 815-477-4720 ext. 251 or Anna.Kreller@opad.org