Who We Are

Family Matters, a project of ARC Community Support Systems, was funded as a Family Support Program, in 1989, by the Illinois Department of Human Services in order to assist families to keep their children with disabilities living at home by providing, locating, or creating the needed supports. The most prevalent need expressed by parents in 1989 and through the present, is for information about obtaining more, better, different, or more appropriate special education services.

In October, 2002, Family Matters was awarded a grant from the US Department of Education to become a Parent Training and Information Center to serve the entire state of Illinois outside of the Chicago area. As a Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC), Family Matters provides information, referral, linkages, and training to parents, students with disabilities, and special education professionals. Through a toll-free help line individuals can get assistance with special education problems or concerns, obtain information, and request training opportunities. Our trainers offer free workshops on special education rights and responsibilities and related topics.

The mission of Family Matters Parent Training and Information Center is to build upon families' strengths, empower parents and professionals to achieve the strongest possible outcomes for students with disabilities, and to enhance the quality of life for children and young adults with disabilities.

FMPTIC has adopted the following Guiding Principles:

  • Parents have a comprehensive knowledge of their children
  • Parents who know their children's rights can better advocate for their children
  • The home, school and community are vital components when developing an education program
  • All children are capable of learning and good behavior
  • Students are entitled to appropriate technology and access to buildings, programs
  • All school districts and parents are capable of cooperative relationships

The Family Matters PTIC can assist you to learn about early intervention services for children from birth to three years of age, can inform you about special education services for school aged children, can help with transition issues for students who will be leaving the educational system and are preparing for the world of work, adult services or college, and can provide information about resources, best practices, specific disabilities, and training opportunities and conferences.

We hope that you will visit our site often, email your comments, questions and concerns, and call and speak to our information specialists for assistance.

Donations are welcome to assist us in supporting families with children with disabilities. Tax free donations can be made by going to the donate button on the top of our home page.