5/15/20 - IDHS Weekly Bulletin

Friday, May 15, 2020


WIC is a food assistance program for Women, Infants, and Children. It helps pregnant women, new mothers, and young children eat well and stay healthy.

Illinois WIC remains committed to serving families and continuing daily operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be aware WIC local agencies have been given the flexibility to complete WIC appointments over the telephone. These appointments include enrollment, recertification, nutrition education/issuing benefits, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other services. Currently, WIC operations will vary by region/WIC local agency, so please contact your local WIC clinic directly for additional details or questions.

Use the IDHS Office Locator to find the local Women, Infants and Children office near you or contact the State WIC Office at (217) 782-2166.


If you or someone you know is suffering from an opioid use disorder or other substance use disorder, you can call the Illinois Helpline at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP to speak with a trained professional. You can also visit HelplineIL.org to be directed to customized resources, support, and advice.


As previously announced, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) are committed to making sure that Illinois' at-risk youth population is not left behind as the state begins to rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, the State has established the Illinois Youth Investment Program (IYIP), a multi-faceted approach targeted at Illinois' at-risk youth, ages 16 to 24. It aims to ensure they have an equitable opportunity to participate in the employment opportunities throughout the state. The program will take into account employment barriers as well as physical, emotional, social, and mental health needs, while helping young people to secure and sustain long-term and/or career employment, thereby ensuring a greater likelihood of success and self-sufficiency.

Providers interested in receiving funding to participate in this program can learn more here. The application due date is being extended from June 1 to July 1, 2020.


This past week, IDHS celebrated Nurses Week by expressing appreciation for all nurses, especially the ones on the front lines fighting this pandemic. While words (or video) cannot convey how grateful they are, that didn't stop IDHS Secretary Grace Hou and her team from trying!


The New Americans Initiative (NAI) funds community-based organizations to provide services to eligible permanent residents to apply for citizenship through the naturalization process and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) administers this program, on behalf of IDHS, through a network of community-based partner agencies.

These services include community education and outreach, English language and citizenship civic education classes, and legal assistance and guidance with the U.S. citizenship or DACA application preparation, submission, and interview process.

Here is a list of agencies serving immigrants. You can also find information on the many services and programs that IDHS provides for refugees and immigrants by visiting dhs.illinois.gov/welcome.


The State of Illinois and IDHS have increased funding for shelter services during this pandemic as well as for programs to prevent homelessness and provide supports to those experiencing housing uncertainty.

To help navigate these services, IDHS has developed helpful one-page resource documents in English and Spanish.


Last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services launched "Call4Calm," a free of charge emotional support text line designed to help Illinoisans experiencing stress related to COVID-19. People can text "TALK" (or "HABLAR" for Spanish) to 552020 to receive a call from a caring counselor in a community mental health center who can be a listening ear for the challenges people are now experiencing.

In addition, the text number can help Illinoisans find help and guidance on other critical issues during the pandemic. Residents can text keywords like "UNEMPLOYMENT," "FOOD," or "SHELTER," to 552020 to receive additional information in response.

"Call4Calm" is not a crisis line; if you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, please call 911.


The closure of IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) local offices continues, but DRS is still here (remotely) to assist customers, vendors, and other stakeholders with vocational support or home services information. The Division launched a toll-free number to expand those options - new or existing customers with physical disabilities can call 1-877-581-3690 to inquire about or be connected to services.


If you or someone you know is suffering from a gambling disorder, call 1-800-GAMBLER, text ILGAMB to 53342, or feel free to visit www.weknowthefeeling.org to be connected to resources and treatment programs in your area.