Lives Made Better

We take pride in both our clients’ amazing perseverance and hard work as well as our staff’s tremendous commitment to help those children and families to build better lives and reach their potential.

We invite you to learn more about our impact:

Meet Sara & Angelina: Achieving Developmental Milestones

Education meant so much to Sara* that before her daughter Angelina* was born, she enrolled her in ChildServ’s early learning program in Elgin. Sara needed help providing necessities like diapers for Angelina, but she also wanted to make sure that Angelina was prepared to succeed once she entered school.

During their first in-home visit, Sara and her ChildServ Parent Educator Kristina established goals for Angelina and talked about the significance of reading to jumpstart her daughter’s vocabulary and doing “tummy time” to strengthen her neck and back muscles.

Angelina loved “tummy time” and quickly learned to sit-up and crawl, and as her second birthday approached, Angelina also enjoyed playing with blocks, scribbling and reading with her mom, especially books with textures.

But Sara noticed that her daughter showed little interest in standing or walking.  She didn’t want Angelina to fall further behind in her development, so she talked with Kristina about how to help her daughter advance beyond crawling.

Kristina came to their next meeting with activities aimed at first getting Angelina to pull herself up to a standing position, but after hours of practice and multiple visits, Angelina showed little improvement.

Kristina knew they needed additional support so she connected Sara and Angelina with Mary, a licensed physical therapist with extensive experience working with children. Mary volunteered her time to join Kristina at their next session, teaching Sara new techniques to support Angelina’s efforts to stand and walk.

By the end of that visit, Angelina was able to stand up and confidently lower herself back down.

Sara and Angelina continued to use Mary’s advice and techniques while practicing at home, and when Kristina returned two weeks later, Angelina was climbing onto furniture and pushing around anything that wasn’t bolted to the floor.

After a while, Angelina took her first unsteady but independent steps. Sara was thrilled to witness her daughters’ resilience and see her achieve these important milestones.

“Without ChildServ, Angelina would be behind, but now, she’s ready to grow up and have a good life.”

ChildServ will ensure an additional 50 children and families who are at risk in Elgin and Lake County become ready to succeed in school as the result of two Illinois State Board of Education grants.


Meet James & Mr. Willis: Supportive Foster Homes

James* had a history of verbal and physical aggression, stemming from years of childhood trauma.

He lived most of his life with his maternal grandmother, who formally adopted him in 2015. She cared for and provided him with the support he needed to work through his trauma and continue with school.

But shortly after his adoption, his grandmother suddenly passed away. Without her love and guidance, he felt lost.

James briefly lived with his adoptive sisters. But when one of them became physically abusive, he started living on the streets, missing school and getting in trouble with law enforcement.

By the time his ChildServ case manager Lola identified Mr. Willis as a foster parent for James, he was on probation.

As James settled into Mr. Willis’ home, they started talking about James’ future and his goals—something he had never done before.

James wanted to have a place of his own and a steady job.

They agreed that for his goals to become a reality, James needed to go back to school and get his high school diploma.

To help, Lola and Mr. Willis worked with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to find a daily program to improve his reading.

And with Mr. Willis’ encouragement and having the stability he needed, James worked hard to make up for the time he missed in class.

This past spring, James graduated from high school. Soon after, he started a part-time job rehabbing houses, saving money for his own home.

One of his favorite things to do is cook, a skill Mr. Willis taught him that will serve him well when he’s living independently.

James and Mr. Willis have grown close—to the point where he calls Mr. Willis, “Pops.” He sees Mr. Willis as both a mentor and role model for the man he wants to be when he’s older.

“I look up to Mr. Willis, and since living with him, I feel as good about my life as I ever have.”


Meet Kenny: Safe Places to Live

Kenny* came to ChildServ’s Lisle group home in September 2017 with a specific goal: he wanted to finish high school so that he could go to college. But until ChildServ, he didn’t have the support he needed to achieve his dream.

When he was younger, Kenny was removed from his parents’ custody due to abuse and neglect, leading to behavioral and emotional challenges. He spent time in residential facilities, but they were unable to provide the right care.

Kenny found support and encouragement from ChildServ’s group home staff and Peter, his on-site therapist. They became positive, stable presences in his life as he adjusted to a new living environment and worked through issues with his parents and his older brother.

Kenny enrolled at both Lisle High School and Camelot Therapeutic Day School of Hoffman Estates, which gave him the opportunity to learn in a classroom setting that provided more individual assistance.

While at the group home, Kenny’s older brother Andre contacted him, bring up past trauma. But with Peter’s help, Kenny established healthy boundaries with Andre and kept focused on his goals.

In spring of 2018, Kenny was accepted to Eastern Illinois University (EIU).

As his dream of going to college came closer to a reality, Kenny paid special attention to the financial and time management lessons during the life skills sessions offered by ChildServ. He found a job at McDonald’s and saved his paychecks to buy things he would need in college.

In May of 2018, Kenny graduated from Lisle High School, and in August, he moved into a dorm at EIU.  He keeps in regular contact with ChildServ staff, who remain a source of encouragement and support, and is doing well in classes, studying to get a degree in business.