Community Resources

During this time, many people are in need of help from their local communities and governments. What are some local resources available to you and your family within your community?

Family support resources are stepping up with resources and assistance in response to the COVID-19 for the public as a whole. As the COVID-19 emergency evolves and directly impacts people across the nation, new and continued support is available for families to try to survive.

Although Illinois is currently moving through Phase 3 of Restore Illinois and many people may have returned to work, many have not. For an essential employee, especially, no matter what your typical assignment is, the declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 will demand more of your time and attention and, undoubtedly, disrupt your work/family balance. Routine needs such as childcare, pet care, and financial responsibilities will be joined by an ever-increasing need for self-care, resiliency strategies, and mental health support. How, then, do you and/or your family obtain assistance for these tangible and intangible needs?


Start with your local resources, but do not limit yourself. Many governmental and private organizations provide existing support services, and some are rolling out new or enhanced services in light of the pandemic. Even a quick internet search reveals several available resources and/or services.

From childcare to pet care, there are lots of challenges facing families as COVID-19 disrupts work/family balance:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Understanding the leave provisions Local governments providing hazard pay, stipends for first responders.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, is an obvious resource for the general public, but the agency also offers information specific to first responders and their families. One effective way of accomplishing this is to ease the burden of responsibility at home through the implementation of family support systems.

Have you considered The National Child Traumatic Stress Network for information focused on helping families cope with COVID-19? Though not specific to first responder families, the Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) provides useful information pertaining to parenting during this challenging time. Educating yourself and your family may serve to enhance family preparedness and reduce anxiety.


Many households are comprised of young families so childcare may be an immediate need during this time of changing schedules, quarantines, and long work hours.

Maybe your spouse is working from home and struggling to keep your child engaged in their new online schooling program. Or, maybe you’re a single parent whose normal childcare agency has been ordered temporarily closed. Suddenly, turning to the grandparents to fill in and watch the kids may not be feasible or even advisable in this current crisis.

Whatever the case, public and private organizations appear to be stepping up to fill this need. In some municipalities, for instance, several entities have come together to provide first responders and public safety communication personnel with free, discounted, and/or 24/7 childcare availability. Initiatives like these are made possible through collaboration among local leaders and YMCA, United Way, and Red Cross affiliates, among others, as well as public schools and healthcare providers. In other areas, some childcare providers are being allowed to remain open for the sole purpose of providing childcare services to public healthcare workers and first responders.


How about pet care assistance? The CDC encourages pet owners to plan and prepare a disaster kit for their pets and, in the case of hospitalization, to have friends or family members take care of your pet, as pets will be more comfortable in familiar environments with familiar people.

If friends or family are unable to care for your pets during planned or unplanned absences, you may want to reach out to your local animal shelter or rescue group for direct support or referrals. Some private organizations are even creating assistance programs to cover the cost of temporary pet boarding, for people requiring hospitalization.


The COVID-19 crisis will have far-reaching financial implications, so if necessary, take advantage of available programs to ease the burden.

For instance, The First Responders Children’s Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund has been established to provide financial aid to eligible first responders who are protecting communities during this outbreak. Certainly, there are more existing and newly forming resources than can be discussed here, but they are out there.


Let us not forget that many resources already support families in addressing potential mental health issues related to the job. Some resources aim to help children understand the role their parents play at work, in an effort to reduce anxiety among this vulnerable group. These resources are certainly applicable to the current pandemic.

Governmental resources pertinent to mental health and family adjustment, specific to post-deployment and reintegration of first responders from disaster situations, are available and may now be extremely useful to first responders and their families.

These resources include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and their downloadable guide, Tips for Families of Returning Disaster Responders: Adjusting to Life at Home. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) similarly provides A Post-Deployment Guide for Families of Emergency and Disaster Response Workers.


The unique needs of families during this unprecedented time cannot be fully identified here. References to organizations and programs are not meant to be all-inclusive; they simply demonstrate that resources exist and can be located if you simply look for them.

Prior to the pandemic and more so even now, most of us have a lot on our plates. But, none of us can afford to sit on our hands and expect relief and support to fall into our families’ laps. Hopefully, your agency and/or municipality has implemented necessary supports for you and your family. A good resource within your hometown is your local chamber of commerce as well.

If not, you can search for resources now. Go online, make some calls, talk to others. If searching online is causing you more confusion and if you are looking for a trusted local resource, call us! We have hundreds of resources in our Resource Center and we would be happy to assist you. There are many services available to help you through this crisis – so don’t wait.

Written by Amy M. Bravo

Sterk Family Law Group is here to assist you

We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you.

Whether you are a current client or if you are looking for family law or estate planning assistance, our team is here for you and will continue to be available to address your concerns.

To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.

You may message us here, email our office at, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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