4321 - So Your Family Member is in Prison

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

What now?

You may be wondering whether you will have enough money for food, who will take care of your child, or how you will cope with illness or emergencies. There are many services to help you and your family at this difficult time. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) wants to make sure you know what those services are and how to get them.

More information on these programs, and how to know if you qualify for them, can be found on the DHS web site. Go to https://www.dhs.state.il.us and click on the "For Customers" link.

You may also call our DHS Help Line at 800-843-6154 (voice) or 866-324-5553 (TTY).

This line is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except for state holidays.

Here is how DHS can help

Cash - There are many different programs to help people who need cash assistance. If you are eligible for one or more of these, you will be given an Illinois Link Card. DHS also offers free help with your taxes.

Child Care - The Department offers safe and healthy child care to working families at over 100 child care centers. Please see the child care eligibility calculator on the DHS website to learn if you qualify. See Child Care for more information and programs.

Early Intervention - The Early Intervention program helps infants and toddlers under three years of age who have (or may have) a developmental delay to learn and grow.

Developmental Disability Services - The Department provides many services to meet the special needs of persons with developmental disabilities. Although funding is limited for these services, the Department can tell you where to go for more information.

Rehabilitation for Persons with Disabilities - There are many services for people with disabilities, such as job skills training and/or help finding jobs; services to help you continue living in your own home or move into a residential living facility; educational services; and help with applying for benefits. Read more on Disability & Rehabilitation services.

Food - Hungry people need food. Illinois has several programs to help, including SNAP (food stamps), WIC (Women, Infants and Children), and the WIC Farmer's Market Nutrition Program. Also the DHS website can help you locate emergency food supplies in your community. More information on Food Services.

Health and Medical - You may qualify for health benefits through Medicaid. Other health programs include the WIC food and nutrition program, Family Case Management, and immigrant health services. Read more on Health & Medical Assistance.

Housing - DHS helps you find emergency food and shelter if you are homeless or might soon become homeless or need affordable housing. We also provide in-home assistance for people with developmental disabilities and help homeless youth to find stable housing and get other needed services. Read more on Housing.

Mental Health Services - The Department provides mental health services in your community, and will also help you know who to talk to and where to go for help.

Pregnancy and Parenting - DHS has information and programs to help you have healthy babies; become a better parent; plan if or when to have children; and/or finish your education.

Violence and Abuse Prevention - The Department offers shelter for victims of domestic violence and help for victims of sexual assault. We also help those who abuse others to change their lifestyle. Learn more about Violence & Abuse Prevention Services.

Youth Services - DHS provides positive activities for 6 to 17 year olds outside of school time, and services to prepare youth for college. The Department also provides community-based programming for help young people who are in trouble with the law; who are in crisis (they have run away from home or their parents will not allow them to go home); or who are parents of young children. Learn more about Youth Services.

Alcoholism and Addiction - DHS provides treatment services for alcoholism and addiction at treatment facilities across the state. Clinical staff are specially trained to work with people who seek treatment. More information on Alcoholism & Addiction Services.

For further information or answers to frequently asked questions, go to https://www.dhs.state.il.us and click on the "For Customers" link.

You may also call our DHS Help Line at 800-843-6154 (voice) or 866-324-5553 (TTY). This line is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except for state holidays.

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 help line 24 hours a day at:

  • 1-800-843-6154
  • 1-866-324-5553 (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 4321 (R-07-14) Services for Children and Families of Incarcerated Individuals
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.

2,000 copies P.O.# 15-0066