Teen Parent Services Program - DHS 2942

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Teen Parent Services Program

Helping teen parents get the education and training they need to support their families.

What is the Teen Parent Services program?

Teen Parent Services (TPS) is a program of the Illinois Department of Human Services. If you are a teen parent under the age of 20, TPS can help you:

  • get education and training,
  • delay subsequent pregnancy,
  • work through the TANF application process,
  • connect with community resources and services, and
  • get preventative health care for yourself and your child(ren).

You are expected to stay in school and get your high school diploma or GED. You can also learn how to find a job and take classes to learn new skills.

Services are offered in Cook County.

Who is eligible for TPS?

You are eligible to participate in the TPS program if you:

  • are under the age of 20 and
  • are pregnant or a parent and
  • do not have your high school diploma or GED certificate and
  • apply for or receive TANF cash.

If you receive TANF you are required to enroll in this program. Limited services to males may be provided.

Where can I sign up for TPS?

If you live in the Chicago area you can visit or call your local Department of Human Services' Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) or call 1-800-843-6154 (press option #5), 1-800-447-6404 (TTY) for the phone number of the TPS office nearest you.

How can TPS help me?

Your TPS case manager will help you set up a step-by-step plan to finish school, learn new skills, and get a job. This will help build a better life for you and your family.

No matter what kind of help you need, you can call your TPS case manager.

If you or someone in your family is trying to deal with a problem, such as drugs or alcohol, depression, or relationship problems, your case manager can help you get services.

When you go to school or work, TPS can help you find and get help to pay for child care.

TPS can also help you pay for some of the costs for school such as:

  • Transportation costs to go to school (bus and train fare),
  • Most work expenses,
  • Books and school supplies,
  • GED test fees, or
  • Special work clothes.

TPS can make a big difference in your family's life by showing you how to:

  • Get free health care services for you and your child, such as prenatal care, well baby care, and immunizations for your child,
  • Plan the number of children you want and when you want to have them,
  • Understand the growth and development of your child,
  • Improve your parenting skills,
  • Budget your money, and
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle and prepare nutritious meals.

What if I haven't finished school?

If you are age 19 or under and don't have a high school diploma or GED, you must be in school or a GED program to receive TANF cash.

If you are a mother with a newborn baby you will not have to go to school until the baby is up to 12 weeks old.

What happens after I graduate from high school or get my GED?

When you finish high school or get your GED, TPS will help you move toward your next goal.

Your TPS case manager can help you:

  • sign up for classes to learn job skills,
  • find a job, or
  • register for college.

You may still be able to get child care, medical assistance, food stamps, and other support services even after you leave TANF cash. Talk to your case manager for more information.

How does the TANF cash time limit affect me?

Once you turn 18, you can only receive TANF cash for a total of 5 years (or 60 months) for the rest of your life. This makes it really important to finish high school or get your GED and get a good job.

Starting when you are 18, if you have your own TANF cash case, every month you get TANF cash counts against your 60-month limit, also called your TANF "clock." Once you use up your 60 months of TANF cash, you will not be able to receive it again.

There are only four ways you can get TANF cash without having it count against your "clock":

  • Work 30 hours a week, or
  • Go to college full-time in an approved program and get good grades, or
  • Be involved in an approved domestic violence program, or
  • Care for a sick family member (with approval).

There is no time limit for food stamps or the medical card.

Do I need to live with my parents to get TANF cash?

If you are a parent under age 18, and you do not live with a parent, legal guardian or an adult relative, or in a maternity home or other adult supervised arrangement, you and your child may get TANF cash for up to 6 months. After 6 months, you may still qualify for TANF cash if there is good reason why you cannot meet this requirement. Talk to your Family and Community Resource Center worker or your TPS case manager about your situation.

You do not have to live at home to get a medical card or food stamps.

Child Support

Child support can help you take care of your children's future. If you want to get TANF cash, you must tell the State of Illinois how they can contact your child's father or mother.

If you are afraid that your child's father or mother might hurt you or your child, let your local office case manager help you.

If you receive TANF cash, you will also get up to $50 of the child support money the state collects each month. When you no longer get TANF cash, you will get the full amount of child support that the state collects each month. If you are the biological father you may be required to cooperate with Child Support.

It is important to identify a legal father for your child. Even if he is not working now, he may have income in the future, and your child deserves a share. A father can be a very positive role model to a child and contribute to family self-sufficiency as well as the child's well being.

If you are not receiving TANF cash but would like help getting child support, call 800-447-4278 (voice) or 800-526-5812 (TTY).

What if I think I have not been treated fairly?

You have the right to be treated with courtesy and respect by all DHS staff and staff that contract with DHS. You also have the right to ask questions and receive answers about the assistance you need or want.

If you feel you have not been treated with respect, you can write down what happened on a grievance form.

You also have the right to appeal any action or inaction by DHS. To request an appeal, you write down your side of the story on a Notice of Appeal form.

You can go to any DHS local office and get a grievance or appeal form. After you fill out the form, ask to talk to a manager in the office.

Keep a copy of the form for your records.

Important Phone Numbers

DHS Office Locator for WIC and Early Intervention Programs

(Services available to pregnant and parenting youth)

800-323-4769(V) 800-323-4769(TTY)

Health Benefits and Kidcare Hotline

800-226-0768(V) or 866-468-7543(V)

877-204-1012(TTY)

Child Support

800-447-4278(V) 800-526-5812(TTY)

Tax Counseling Project (Help with taxes)

888-827-8511(V) 312-701-1326(TTY)

Child Care (Statewide)

877-202-4453(V) 800-649-1884(TTY)

Illinois Link Helpdesk

(Account information, locations of Link sites, help with lost or stolen cards)

800-678-5465(V) 877-765-3459(TTY)

Legal Assistance

In Cook County (including the City of Chicago)

Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago

312-341-1070

In Knox, Henderson, McDonough, Stark or Warren counties (Prairie State Legal Services)

800-331-0617 (toll free) or 309-343-2141

In other counties in northern and central Illinois with area codes 309, 630, 815, or 847 (Prairie State Legal Services)

800-531-7057 (toll free)

In other counties in central or southern Illinois with area codes 217 or 618 (Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation)

877-342-7891

For more information:

Call or visit your Illinois Department of Human Services' Family Community Resource Center (FCRC).

If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)?program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline

24 hours a day at:

1-800-843-6154

1-800-447-6404 (TTY)

You may speak to a representative between:

8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

For answers to your questions,

you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Customer Support and Services
100 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62762

Visit our web site at: www.dhs.state.il.us

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 2942 (R-1-12) Teen Parent Services
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.