November 2019

Healthy Families

It's cold and flu season! All DCFS clients in foster care are required to get the flu vaccine. It is encouraged that everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine. The most common side effect of the vaccine is muscle soreness in the area where the vaccine is administered. It is possible to get a low-grade fever for up to 24 hours, but it is rare. Because the flu vaccine is not “live” it is not possible to get the flu from the vaccine. 

Most illnesses and colds are viruses and run their course without the need for treatment. The average virus lasts 5-10 days. It can include cough, sore throat, runny nose, and a low-grade fever. Rest, fluids, and some over the counter pain relievers or cold medicines can help. For a high fever or symptoms that don’t improve after 3-5 days, a visit to your child’s pediatrician is important. And remember, the emergency room for cold and flu symptoms is not the first choice. In fact, your child or you may be exposed to more serious illnesses in the ER. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, contact your pediatrician immediately.

Remember, the number one way to prevent the spread of germs is frequent hand washing! Wishing you all a healthy winter season!

--Maureen McLachlan, JCFS Foster Care Health Nurse

Meet the JCFS Team

Meet Gretchen Hilliard, JCFS Chicago Foster Parent Licensing and Recruitment Specialist. She has many years of child welfare experience in foster parent recruitment, PRIDE training, and licensing.  She was also a case manager and supervisor, and worked for AICI supporting adoptions.

Gretchen appreciates the warm welcome she is receiving from JCFS Chicago foster parents.  She feels fortunate to be part of our licensing department rebuild, which has been challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Gretchen is still a PRIDE trainer and offers some advice for foster parents: “Empower yourself with knowledge. Ask questions.  Access your support team, including the clinical team.  Know the on-call number because you are never alone.  Get to the table with your concerns.  Be transparent about barriers or challenges- it’s okay to not know something.”  

Gretchen’s hobbies include water aerobics, Zumba, walking both indoors and outdoors, and visiting museums.  She loves musicals-- “Rent” and “Dreamgirls” are her two favorites. We hope you get to meet her soon if you haven’t already.  We are very excited to have such an experienced and passionate person on the JCFS Chicago child welfare team.  You can reach Gretchen via email or at 312.673.2774.