Division of Community Health & Prevention, Bureau of Maternal & Child Health
Families with young children (including families who are expecting a child) in select communities.
To coordinate services across systems and ensure that all families with young children are aware of and have the opportunity to receive the services they need.
Community assessment, planning, and systems coordination to better organize and offer services for families with young children.
The AOK Networks are community-based collaborative efforts among family members, DHS, local health departments, and other local agencies that serve families with young children. Twelve programs serve the following counties: Adams, Kane, Macon, McLean,
St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, and Wabash/Edwards, Will, as well as one in the North Lawndale Community Area in Chicago and the Town of Cicero in Cook County.
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The AOK Networks are an innovative solution to the problem of linking and integrating programs that address different facets of early childhood development. The focus is on developing a comprehensive service delivery system that meets families' needs.
The networks have:
- conducted community assessments to identify existing local resources and family needs.
- convened regular parent and provider meetings to share information about service needs and appropriate community responses.
- developed and broadly distributed over 12,000 directories of community services for young children and their families.
- worked with community partners to increase the number of developmental screenings available to young children and their families.
- involved businesses and the faith communities in identifying families with young children in need of services.
- improved coordination of care and referral systems to ensure timely and appropriate referrals to needed services.
- worked to provide public education messages that highlight important information to over 17,000 families with young children.
- identified service providers' continuing education needs.
- worked with local community colleges and others to improve training opportunities for providers who work with young children.