Chicago Child Care Society

Extended Family Support Program

It is estimated that over 100,000 relatives in Illinois are providing care for related children without support from the formal child welfare system. Often, relatives are suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver for young children when their biological parents are no longer able. The Extended Family Support Program (EFSP) supports relative caregivers (grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, etc.) in adjusting to the many challenges that accompany the role of relative caregiver. The goal is to stabilize families and keep children from entering the foster care system.

Families receive assistance from EFSP for approximately three months. EFSP works with families to safeguard children and enhances the caregivers’ ability to provide basic physical, emotional, social and development needs. Assistance in obtaining guardianship through probate court and applying for a public aid grant is available.

In many cases, extended family has already played a large role in caretaking. Keeping children in a familiar environment reduces anxiety for everyone. A sense of routine and belonging is maintained while minimizing changes to daily lives.