Educational & Developmental Programs

Birth to 3 Program - Triad District
For residents who live in Marine, St. Jacob & Troy.  This program through the Triad School District #2 serves families with kids starting prenatally until the age of 3. It involves a 12-month home visiting program with weekly or bi-weekly home visits with a certified parent educator.  Information shared include topics on pregnancy, children & parenting; hearing, vision & developmental screenings; playgroups & family events; medical & community resources and age appropriate toys, activities & books.
Call: (618) 667-5401 Ext #6194

Birth to Age Three Prevention Initiative - O'Fallon
This program is for needy children & pregnant women through O'Fallon CCSD #90 and involves home visits that provide continuous & intensive child development & family support services to help families prepare their kids to be successful in school.  It requires participation of and interactions with the parent & child.  Progams also educate parents to help them support their child's development. There may be a waiting list and families will be screened.  Baby Talk is another evidence-based program available.
O'Fallon CCSD #90 Preschool Office
Call (618) 206-2476 to begin the screening process & determine eligibility

Providing A Sure Start Program (P.A.S.S.)
They provide early childhood prevention services for parents with kids from newborn to 3 years old  to help prepare kids & their parents so the child has a successful school experience. There's a Parents as Teachers curriculum, parental groups (and transportation to these groups), health & nutrition groups, social services, a lending library for toys & books, onsite childcare, field trips for kids, emergency infant supplies like diapers & wipes may be available and you can get local referrals & resources plus more.  Download their brochure
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
200 N 13th St East St. Louis, IL 62205
(618) 875-2211

Educational Tools

Fun and Learning for Parents & Children: An Activities Handbook
A booklet of fun activities for parents & kids to do together at home, indoors, outdoors or away from home.

Reach Out and Read
For children whose families live at or below the federal poverty level and are not exposed to books.  This program's mission is to prepare children for success in school and they work with doctors across the county, and in our area, to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.  They focus on kids 6 months to 5 years old, the best time to lay the foundation for literacy & vocabulary development.  Doctors provide the books to the children, stressing the importance of parental involvement and encourage parents to read to their children.  Find a program in your area

Reach Out And Read's Free Audio Books
4 audio books to download for your children

Talking is Teaching Sesame Street Family Guide
According to the
Talking is Teaching website, your child learns best when they do it with someone they love.  Sesame Workshop and Too Small to Fail created a guide of tips & activities to help fill your child's world with stories, songs & words while spending quality time with you.  Download them here.

Zero To Three Parenting Favorites

Zero To Three thrives to make sure babies & toddlers have a strong start in life.  Their resources page of parental favorites has 11 topics including ages & stages, social & emotional development, early learning, brain development, playing, sleeping, temperament, challenging behavior, positive parenting approaches, discipline, and fatherhood.  Each topic includes many articles, infographics or resources to give you plenty of information which you can find here.

Child Care

Child Care Resource & Referral Service (CCR&R)
Find child care referrals that meet your families unique needs, give parents facts to find help on paying for child care and find resources for child care programs in Madison, Monroe & St. Clair Counties via this office.
Children's Home & Aid Child Care Resource & Referral
2133 Johnson Road - Granite City.
Monday thru Friday: 8:30am-4:30pm
(618) 452-8900 or (800) 467-9200


All Kids Program

Healthcare for Illinois kids which includes doctor visits, vision & dental care, prescriptions, devices like eyeglasses & asthma inhalers, and hospital stays.  Families pay a monthly premium but at extremely lower prices.  Learn more here or apply at 1-(866)-255-5437.

Eyes of Hope Gift Certificates
Offered by Vision Service Plan, this program provides free eye exams & glasses to low income & uninsured kids who meet their criteria. Children 18 or younger who haven't graduated from high school, are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants with a social security number, whose family income is no more than 200% of the federal poverty level, the child isn't enrolled in Medicaid or other vision insurance and hasn't used the Sight For Students program during the last 12 months.  Learn more about it
here and find a participating doctor in your area here.

InfantSEE offers comprehensive infant eye & vision assessment to any baby from six months old to their first birthday regardless of income or insurance.  Learn more about the program and use the search bar at the top page to find a participating doctor here.

Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Center
Services include pregnancy testing, limited ultrasounds, fetal development education, parenting classes & free items for moms who graduate the class, discussion of alternatives, post-abortion support, referrals & more. More info:

Belleville Office
115 Lincoln Place Court #102.
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 9am-5pm
(618) 355-9977

Granite City
2019 Johnson Rd.
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: 9am-5pm
Thursday: 9am-6pm
(618) 451-2002

C2 MobileUnit - Visits various locations including Collinsville, Glen Carbon & East St. Louis.  Times vary. Call for more info.
(618) 407-0108

Phoenix Crisis Center
Crisis Hotline for temporary emergency shelter, legal advocacy and counseling for women & children who are domestic violence victims.  Based out of Granite City.  Hotline open 24/7, 365 days.
(618) 451-1008

Food & Nutrition

Farmers Markets That Accept Link/EBT Cards 2019 Schedule:

Alton Farmers & Artisans Market
600 Landmarks Blvd.
July 3 thru September 25
Wednesdays: 4pm-7pm
June 11 thru October 19
Saturdays: 8am-12pm

F.R.E.S.H. Farmer's Market Cahokia
1274 Camp Jackson Rd.
July 17 thru October 23
Wednesdays: 12pm-3 p.m.

F.R.E.S.H. Farmer's Market East St. Louis
638 N. 20th St.
June 6 thru October 31
Thursdays: 8:30am-1pm

F.R.E.S.H. Farmer's Market Fairmont City
4444 Collinsville Rd.
July 12 thru October 25
Fridays: 2:30pm-5pm

Land of Goshen Community Market Edwardsville
201 St. Louis St.
May 11 thru October 19
Saturdays: 8am-12pm

Old Town Farmers Market Belleville
1st block of S. Charles St.
May 4 thru November 2
Saturdays: 7:30am-12pm

Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
A food assistance program that helps pregnant women, new moms and young kids eat well and stay healthy.  They can provide special checks to buy healthy foods such as milk & juice, eggs & cheese, cereal, peanut butter and dry beans & peas.  They offer health & nutritional information so mothers and their families are healthy & stay well, they offer information & help with breastfeeding plus help moms find health care & other services. 

Local WIC Offices:
Coordinated Youth and Human Services
2016 Madison Ave - Granite City.
Phone: (618) 877-3433

Coordinated Youth and Human Services
101 E. Edwardsville Rd - Wood River.
Phone: (618) 254-3591

East Side Health District
1274 Camp Jackson Rd. - Cahokia.
Phone: (618) 337-4178

East Side Health District
638 N 20th St - East St Louis.
Phone: (618) 874-4713

East Side Health District
2568 N 41st St - East St Louis.
Phone: (618) 271-7550

Monroe County Health Department
901 Illinois Avenue - Waterloo.
Phone: (618) 939-3871

St. Clair County Health Department
19 Public Square - Belleville.
Phone: (618) 233-6170

Parental Guidance
Resources for low-income parents, families in need, kids & teens, pregnant women & foster families.

Find more resources on our Resources page!

© Making A Difference
All rights reserved.

Bedding & Cribs

Cribs for Kids
They provide cribs to babies whose mothers can't afford them plus they educate moms about the dangers of unsafe-sleeping.  Sometimes, portable crib sheets, Halo Sleep Sacks and pacifiers are available.  Local partners are in Alton, IL and there's a few in St. Louis. You can search their location finder for a place closest to you
Riverbend Head Start & Family Services
550 Landmarks Blvd - Alton.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace
A group of volunteers whose mission is to make sure no kids sleeps on the floor in their towns, they build, assemble and deliver top-notch bunk beds & bedding to families with children in need.  Read about requesting a bed
here, then use their contact form to make your request and pick pick IL-Metro East in the drop-down menu.   Visit the Metro East Chapter on Facebook here.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
They have 18 local offices, known as conferences, to help residents in Belleville, Cahokia, Caseyville, Columbia, East St. Louis, Fairview Heights, Germantown, Lebanon, Mascoutah, Millstadt, O'Fallon, Pinckneyville & Waterloo. They offer emergency vouchers through their thrift shop in East St. Louis for those who meet criteria and for low-income families they can help with basinettes, layettes & cribs for newborns plus clothes & school uniforms.  Find the conference closest to you
(618) 394-0126

Car Seats & Safety

Car Seats: Know the Types of Car Seats

An article to help you with car seat safety stage milestones.

Children's Hospital Safety Stop
Make an appointment to bring your child, their car seat and your car to receive a free inspection by a certified safety technician who will inspect it, make sure it's the correct fit for your child and ensure that it's installed properly.  Car seats are sold at all Safety Stops for a discounted price, learn more

Helmet Safety is also offered where kids can bring their helmet to a Safety Stop and a trained helmet safety expert will make sure it fits properly, and teach them & their parents how to adjust it so they can continue this safety practice at home.

Home Safety is where they talk about making your home a safe place for your children, especially those beginning to crawl. 

Sleep Safety teaches the best safe sleeping practices from birth to one year old include swaddling, crib safety and tummy time when the baby is awake.

Call Monday thru Friday: 8am-6pm
(314) 454-5437 or (800) 678-5437 - Press 3

Eight Car Seat Mistakes

An article all parents must read.

The SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Safety Program
This wonderful program offers many services such as no-cost car seats for families in need, infant & child CPR classes, baby safety classes & much more.  For Illinois & Missouri Residents. Visit their website
here or call them for more information.
(314) 678-5474 #1

Multiple Assistance & Programs

ABL “A Beacon of Light” Pregnancy Resource Center
ABL focuses on women & children by offering a safe place of unconditional love & support based on Catholic spirituality and offers counseling, resources & referrals to women & families with unplanned pregnancies & to those who have lost a child through abortion.  They may provide food, formula, diapers, wipes & baby necessities; maternity items; referrals to Head Start; pregnancy tests; miscarriage comfort; referrals for counseling, prenatal & postpartum care, substance abuse & mental disorders plus referrals for food, housing & insurance for those in need while promoting Christian values.  Call their 24 hour/7 days a week, bilingual, pro-life Option Line at 1 (800) 712-4357 or text "helpline" to 313131.
6201 W Main Street, Suite 150 - Maryville
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9am-2pm
Wednesday & Friday by appointment only
(618) 855-9774

Children’s Home + Aid
Provides temporary emergency shelter, crisis intervention, individual & family counseling, and aftercare services to runaway & homeless youth between the ages of 10 and 17.  Cash assistance may be used to help with rent & utilities, food, furnishings & positive youth activities.  They assist in developing life skills to live independently along with educational & employment goals while addressing the issues that led to running away or becoming homeless.
Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Regional Office Children’s Home + Aid
2133 Johnson Road, Suite 104 - Granite City
(618) 452-8900

Belleville Office Children’s Home + Aid
120 East A St. - Belleville 62220
(618) 235-5335

Community Care Center
Offers help for residents in need who reside in Granite City, Madison, Mitchell, Pontoon Beach & Venice. They donate clothing, have a Back to School Program which provides school kids with new outfits & shoes, Christmas basket with food & a toy, and gives layettes for newborns.
1818 Cleveland Blvd. - Granite City.
(618) 876-8770

Pregnancy Care Center

Provides pregnancy tests, support, guidance, education, pamphlets and referrals to WIC, Public Aid, Mosiac for ultrasounds, doctor referrals & Women's Crisis Center. After a mom's first visit after birth she's given a layette that takes care of a newborn's basic nees for the first six weeks including, onesies & sleepers, towels & washcloths, burp pads & bibs, several outfits, socks, receiving blanket, quilt or a large blanket, a sheet, bottles & pacifiers, diapers, plus more.  After birth, families can visit once a month to get supplies like diapers & pull-ups, wipes, clothes & pajamas up to size 5, shoes & socks, books & toys and more.  Visit their website here:

180 S. 3rd St. Suite 50 -Belleville, IL
(618) 233-2273

Monday: 2pm-5pm
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 10am-2pm

Saint Louis Crisis Nursery
Provides a 24 hour, year round haven for kids from birth to 12 years old whose parents are facing a crisis in Illinois or MO.  Parents take kids to the nursery, which is free, where they receive a medical exam & needed medications if there for 24 hours, therapeutic activities, nutritious meals and necessities to take home.  Parents receive crisis counseling, in-home visits, access to parent educational groups & community outreach plus the nursery gives on-going support & follow up to care to the families and serves as a child/family advocate within the social services system.  They have programs that gives assistance to homeless parents to find shelter, one that works for stopping stress for families with an increased risk of abuse, a family empowerment program, another provides a basket of comfort items to a parent experiencing a chronic or terminal illness plus they provide art, play & music therapy for kids who need coping techniques.  Learn more
24 hour Helpline: 1 (314) 768-3201

The Good Samaritan House of Granite City
The Good Samaritan House enriches the lives of homeless women and children by supporting them in a loving Christian environment.  They provide emergency shelter, safe and temporary housing, basic human needs, supportive services and offer residents opportunities to enhance life skills & become self-sufficient.  There's case management, a youth program, a parenting group, a health & nutrition group, budgeting classes, daily life skills classes, consumer education and employment & job coaching.  Learn how to get help
1825 Delmar Blvd. - Granite City.
(618) 876-0607

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
They have 18 local offices, known as conferences, to help residents in Belleville, Cahokia, Caseyville, Columbia, East St. Louis, Fairview Heights, Germantown, Lebanon, Mascoutah, Millstadt, O'Fallon, Pinckneyville & Waterloo. They offer emergency vouchers through their thrift shop in East St. Louis for those who meet criteria and for low-income families they can help with basinettes, layettes & cribs for newborns; clothes & school uniforms.  Find the conference closest to you
(618) 394-0126

Special Programs for Kids & Teens

Sweet Celebrations
To enrich the lives of children and teens who are homeless by providing personalized birthday celebrations.  Parties include themed party decor; custom birthday cake, ice cream & drinks; a personalized birthday shirt; games & activities, party favors and wrapped birthday gifts from their wish list including a Build-a-Bear!  Visit their website
here to learn more.
(314) 537-9856

The Cinderella Affair
A charity that helps girls who can't afford to their homecoming dance or prom.  Those in need can receive a dress & shoes, a purse & jewelry and a day of pampering including hair, makeup & nails plus formal photographs!  They also provide suits, tuxes and shoes for boys in need! 
411 E. Morgan St. - Bunker Hill
Contact Wanda Lucas: (618) 520-6521

Foster Parents

Equipping The Called
A foster & crisis closet located in Troy, this organization provides gently used clothes, underwear & diapers and toiletries for children in licensed foster homes that participate in the Safe Families program or for kids who are identified as drug-endangered by law enforcement, school administrators, medical professionals or clergy in Southern Illinois. Requirements: proof of foster contract, subsidy reimbursement, custody papers or referrals. Help is by appointment only Mondays thru Fridays and Saturdays are for emergency appointments, which can be made on their website
112 East Market St. - Troy.
(618) 806-7806
Calls answered 9am-4pm

The Restore Network
A non-profit organization that engages Christian families to work together within the local churches to care for vulnerable children and families by recruiting foster families, adoptive families & support teams in Bond, Madison, St. Clair & Williamson counties.  Multiple teams helping families out include a meals teams, a work team to help with minor home maintenance, a tutoring team, a prayer team plus they hold events like Parent's Night Out, a Back to School Bash, and a Christmas Party.  Resource closets supply free clothing without a limit (by appointment only) and they also serve biological families & caregivers who are relatives.  Foster families can receive beds, meal deliveries, after placement support groups, tutoring for their foster kids, trauma training & coaching and advocacy with the courts & agencies.
Illinois families contact Ashley at (314) 312-2262 or