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Extended Family Support Program At-A-Glance

Services offered to homes that are not open DCFS cases but are relative placements that require intervention to maintain the placement. These services include assistance with court proceedings, purchase of supplies or necessities for children, and referral linkages.

Extended Family Support Program Overview

The Extended Family Support Program provides short term services to relative caregiver and close family contact (fictive kin) families that are not involved in the formal child welfare system. The goal of EFSP is to:

  • Assist relative caregivers to obtain private guardianship of the child

  • Assist relative caregivers to obtain the child-only grant and/or other services

  • Assist school ages children to enroll in the relative caregiver's school district

  • Assist the relative caregiver with obtaining basic goods and services needed to maintain a stable home for the child

  • Link relative caregivers to community resources to meet other needs

How to Make a Referral

  1. Contact the DCFS hotline (1-800-25-ABUSE / 1-800-25-22873)

  2. Request "Extended Family Support Services"

  3. Wait for a caseworker to contact you once the hotline has referred you

Services to Obtain Guardianship​


The Extended Family Support Program (EFSP) can assist a relative caregiver who wants to obtain guardianship through probate court of a relative's child living in the home of the caregiver. This includes:

  • Educating and helping the caregiver negotiate the probate court system

  • Assisting caregivers to obtain required documents

  • Arranging for legal counsel in counties where legal counsel is necessary

Services Provided

The EFSP caseworkers will meet with the relative caregiver monthly until guardianship has been obtained or until other services have been provided. During this time, the EFSP worker will provide other services to stabilize the relative family, including:

  • Provide crisis intervention and short term interventions to address issues in the family

  • Assist eligible families to obtain TANF benefits, subsidized daycare, and other benefits that are available to the caregiver

  • Advocate with local schools to enroll the caregiver's child in their school district

  • Coordinate family meetings and mediation

  • Refer to and advocate for needed services such as: financial employment and/or housing counseling, legal services, medical and mental health services, parenting counseling and training, special education, and vocational training

  • Referral for cash assistance and in-kind assistance to help meet the basic needs of the family

Cash Assistance

EFSP has a limited cash assistance program to assist relative caregivers to meet the basic needs of their relative's child. Cash assistance may be used to:

  • Obtain legal counsel for probate court in counties where legal counsel is necessary

  • Pay for court fees and court-required documents by the court

  • Obtain basic goods and services needed to ensure that the family is stable

Services Not Provided

When deciding whether to obtain services offered by EFSP, it is important to know what services the program does not provide. While the EFSP worker can assist the relative caregiver obtain a child only grant through the Illinois Department of Human Services, DCFS will not provide a monthly stipend to the relative.

In addition, EFSP does not:

  • Assist caregivers when either the caregiver or the child have an open DCFS case

  • Assist caregivers living outside of Illinois

  • Assist with guardianship when a biological parent objects (the program provides other services if the biological parent objects to guardianship)

  • Assist caregivers when a biological parent lives with the relative caregiver and is able to care for the child themselves


If you are a client, please contact your caseworker first and foremost. Below are individuals that can be contacted in the case of an emergency or for questions/concerns.

Jessica McGinn

EFSP & Advocate Supervisor

217-422-7864 ext. 155

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