To refer a child or learn more about our clinical programs, contact Layenie Grace, Director of Case Management at lgrace@luriechildrens.org

If you are interested in working for Almost Home Kids, we are currently hiring RN’s (Chicago and Naperville), CNA’s (Chicago and Naperville) and a Clinical Manager (Naperville only), please click here


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is our Nurse to Patient ratio?
We always keep patient safety in mind, our goal is that your child’s nurse will have two other patients, however at times; they may have one or three other patients.

Can I cook my food here?
We do not have a stove, due to fire safety.  You can use the toaster oven or microwave. Most families bring dishes already prepared at home, frozen meals, canned meals, in Chicago they can also use the RMDH 3rd floor kitchen if we make a referral for them to the RMDH and their referral is accepted.

What if my child needs something and no one is in the room?
All children staying at AHK are kept on pulse oximetry, with alarms set when they are unattended or asleep.  If their nurse is in another room, another staff member such as a nurse’s aide and or clinical manager will respond to alarms and patient calls.

How long can my child stay here (both transition and respite)?
This  is evaluated case by case, depending on your family’s goals. Respite is a short stay (up to two weeks per year), with Transitional care we really focus on training you on your child’s care and making sure you have all the right resources set up in your home before you leave, such as private duty nursing (up to 120 days).

Can I sleep over?
We have a parent suite in Naperville, however in general our rooms are not private; and it is likely your child have a roommate.  We try to maintain your child’s privacy and safety.  This is something we evaluate case by case, and depending on our census.  We do ask Caregivers to stay for two 24 hours stays once training is completed to carry out care independently. If not being able to stay overnight is a concern to you, this is something we can discuss further as admission gets closer.

Can I call overnight?
Absolutely, our nurses are available to take your call 24/7.

What is your greatest need?
An unrestricted dollar is the hardest to raise, but unrestricted dollars gives us flexibility to respond to each child’s needs as they present themselves. The most common request is for respite care for our families. Being able to provide them with temporary relief from caregiving is at the core of our mission.

What does it cost to raise a dollar?
86 cents of every dollar goes directly to support the children and their families.  Thus, it costs us .14 cents to raise a dollar.

How do I get involved?
Contact Lisa Snow at lsnow@AlmostHomeKids.org to find out the best way you can help Almost Home Kids.

Do Volunteers need to have annual TB tests and Flu shots? 
Yes, we do not ask anything more of our volunteers than we ask of our employees.  Every volunteer needs to have documentation of a current (within the last 12 months) negative TB test; as well as documentation of a Seasonal Flu shot during the months of November 1st to May 1st.

Do you accept In-Kind donations?
Yes, we welcome In-Kind donations!  Please see our Donate Supplies list.

How do I register on-line for a Volunteer Orientation?
You register for a Volunteer Orientation by emailing the Community Outreach Coordinator; Lisa Snow at lsnow@AlmostHomeKids.org

Clinical Staff

Our clinical staff members have their own expertise in certain areas. Here is a handy guide to help you connect with the best person to assist you.

AHK Chicago
Direct phone line to nursing staff:
312-229-0170 option 2

AHK Naperville
Direct phone line to nursing staff:
630-271-9155 option 2

Director of Case Management
To refer a child or learn more about our clinical programs:
Layenie Grace: (630) 271-9155 ext 110

Patient Care Operations Manager
If your child is at AHK, and you have questions about your child’s stay, please contact our Patient Care Operations Managers.
Amy Alvarez (Chicago): 312.229.0170 option 1

Case Manager
If your child is at AHK, or is planning to come to AHK, and you have  questions related to your child clinical care, including appointments and contacting the Medical Director, please contact our Case Managers: 312.229.0170 option 2

Social Worker
Any questions regarding community support should be directed to our Social Workers: 312.229-0170, opt 2

Child Life Specialist
Any questions related to appropriate play or helping siblings adjust to scary or unknown situations related to your child’s medical condition should be directed to the Child Life Specialist: 630.271-9155

Medical Director, Director of Nursing & Advanced Practice Nurse (APN)
Our Medical Team participate on Medical Rounds twice a week, and are on call 24/7. Please contact your Case Manager if you would like to set up a meeting with the Medical Director or Director of Nursing, or if you would like to know the rounding schedule.
Maria Ragusa, APN (Chicago and Naperville): (630) 271-9155 ext 136
Abigail Riley, APN (Chicago): 312-229-0170 ext 250

Director of Nursing – Amy Cutshall, RN, MSN, FNP-C

Amy joined Almost Home Kids earlier this year as Clinical Nurse Educator to help facilitate opening new AHK sites. She joined us from Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora where she was an RN in their level III NICU. Prior to Rush, Amy served as a Clinical Educator for 3M, following 7 years at the University of St Francis in Joliet where she was instrumental in the expansion of the College of Nursing simulation and skills labs. Amy directed the relocation to a new site and managed the budget allocation to equip the new nursing simulation and skills labs at the University. Working with the University leadership team Amy developed a sims lab curriculum and successfully integrated it into the nursing syllabus.

Amy’s nursing career started at Rockford Memorial Hospital in the Professional Development Program working in Pediatrics and Rehabilitation units. After moving to LaSalle Amy worked at the Community Hospital of Ottawa in the LDRP unit and after a relocation to Joliet Amy worked in the NICU at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center for 7 years. Additional NICU positions included Hinsdale Hospital and contracted agency work with Edward Hospital and Mercy Hospital.

Amy earned a Master of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Saint Francis and is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner.

layenie-andersonDirector of Case Management – Layenie Grace, RN

Layenie came to Almost Home Kids in July 2007, from Scotland where she worked as a staff nurse in Neurology and Neurosurgery at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. Her career began in the children’s ward of Perth Royal Infirmary where she gained a strong foundation in general, medical and surgical pediatrics. She attended Napier University in Edinburgh, focusing on pediatric nurse training; She recently completed a BA in Applied Behavioral Science at National Louis University. Layenie is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

At Almost Home Kids, Layenie coordinates the case management and social work teams at the Naperville and Chicago locations, striving for a successful respite or transitional stay for every child. She acts as a liaison between several area hospitals, to ensure a smooth transition from the hospital to Almost Home Kids.

Nurse Practitioner – Jeanna Carlson, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Bio will be posted soon




Nurse Practitioner – Jaclyn  Kripas, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Bio will be posted soon




Nurse Practitioner – Stephanie Wiegert, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC

Stephanie recently joined Almost Home Kids as the APRN for our Naperville location. She graduated with her DNP in primary care pediatrics from Rush University, and comes to us with 8 years of nursing experience on the Resource Team and General Medicine/Pulmonary floor at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Caring for children with medical complexities is a passion for Stephanie, and she is excited to have the opportunity to work with our children and their families on a daily basis.

Global health is another passion of Stephanie’s, and she has served as an APRN on medical missions trips to Ghana and Haiti. Stephanie was the recipient of Lurie’s Prince Nursing Research grant and her research on phototherapy methods for jaundiced newborns won an award at the 2020 Society of Pediatric Nurses conference.

Stephanie lives in Sugar Grove with her Siberian Husky, Ollie, and enjoys spending time with her nephews and niece.

Medical Directors

Peter Smith, MD

AHK Chief Medical Officer– Peter J. Smith, MD, MA

The CMO for AHK is Peter J. Smith. Dr. Smith is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. He is board certified in two subspecialties of pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDD) and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP). Dr. Smith also has Master’s Degree in Ethics and is a faculty member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Smith’s direct clinical service has included inpatient care (he is former Chief of the Medical Staff at La Rabida Children’s Hospital), work in residential schools (he is Medical Director at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School), and outpatient clinics (at Comer Children’s Hospital, at Easter Seals of DuPage and Fox Valley).  Both families and colleagues respect him as a hard-working and passionate advocate for children with complex medical needs. Within the region, Dr. Smith has held several leadership positions.  He has served on multiple Committees of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) related to children with complex medical concerns, and he chaired one of these committees, the Committee on Children with Disabilities.

Nationally, Dr. Smith serves as an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SODBP) for the national AAP.  In addition, he serves on the Executive Committee for the Council on Children with Disabilities (COCWD) for the national AAP (as a liaison from the SODBP).  He also previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is involved in developing national standards for the healthcare of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Smith is also a teacher and scholar.  As a teacher, he has many rolls.  In one of these roles, he started and directed the first training program in the Midwest for pediatricians who want to become experts in the care of children with developmental and behavioral difficulties. Dr. Smith’s scholarship has focused upon the ethics of care for children with special needs as well as the training of doctors to care for this growing population. He has authored multiple articles in scientific journals and chapters in the textbooks used by specialists in this field. Dr. Smith is a frequent presenter at the local, regional, and national scientific meetings as well as at formal educational programs for doctors.
Most importantly, Dr. Smith is a husband and father to four wonderful children.

AHK Naperville Medical Director – Dr. Charles Morrow

Dr. Charles Morrow has joined Almost Home Kids as Medical Director, Naperville and will be working with Dr. Peter J. Smith and Dr. Lindsay Skibley as an important part of the clinical leadership team at AHK. Dr. Morrow will continue his regular duties at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in addition to his new role as Medical Director at Almost Home Kids, Naperville.

Dr. Morrow is very excited to be joining the team at AHK. He has been an Attending Physician and Pediatric Hospitalist at Lurie Children’s for the past 15 years. Having originally worked on an inpatient service at Lurie Children’s for children with medically complexities, he has long maintained an interest in this patient population. Dr. Morrow also serves as the Associate Residency Program Director for the Northwestern Pediatric Residency Program. He holds a faculty appointment at Northwestern Medical School, where he has received numerous teaching awards and was recently recognized as a “Role Model” of the year, as well as at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Additionally, he is a Pediatric Consultant at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab and has privileges at Northwestern Huntley Hospital and Amita Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale.

Dr. Morrow lives in Elmhurst with his wife, three daughters, and dog “Sunny.”

AHK Chicago Medical Director – Dr. Lindsay Skibley

Dr. Lindsay Skibley has joined Almost Home Kids as Medical Director, Chicago and will be working with Dr. Peter J. Smith as an important part of the clinical leadership team at AHK. Dr. Skibley will continue her regular duties at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in addition to her new role as Medical Director at Almost Home Kids, Chicago. Dr. Skibley has worked with Almost Home Kids since 2018 in a consultancy capacity and we are excited to formalize her role.

Dr. Skibley joined Lurie Children’s (then Children’s Memorial) in August 2011 in the Division of Hospital Based Medicine. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Stanford University in 2009, staying on for an additional year as a chief resident.

In addition to her clinical work as a pediatric hospitalist she has leadership roles as the Lurie Children’s NICU Site Leader for the Division of Hospital Based Medicine and the Normal Newborn Nursery at Prentice Women’s Hospital. She is the director for the normal newborn nursery rotation for the pediatric residents and medical students and has given several lectures at the national level at the annual Pediatric Hospital Medicine conference each summer. Dr Skibley is currently the co-recipient of a grant from the national Cytomegalovirus (CMV) foundation and is working to improve screening for newborns potentially infected with congenital CMV.
Dr. Skibley’s years of experience in the Lurie Children’s PICU as well as throughout the hospital have allowed a seamless transition to this important role at Almost Home Kids, helping to ensure families are given the best chance of success prior to taking their child with medical complexities home.

Dr. Skibley lives in Roscoe Village with her husband Adam and their two sons, Jackson (7) and Connor (4).

Medical Advisory Committee

The Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) is comprised of a group of dedicated medical professionals who work together to make a significant difference in the lives of the children at Almost Home Kids. The MAC is Chaired by Michael Hoffman, MD,  Elmhurst Clinic, Pediatrician and AHK Associate Medical Director.

Referral/Intake Process

Almost Home Kids receives referrals from over 32 local, national and international children’s medical centers.

To receive the complete Clinical Referral Form, please email Layenie at lgrace@luriechildrens.org

Examples of admission criteria:

  • Children, under age 22, may have special health care needs that require private duty nursing care or continuous medical monitoring.
  • Children must be clinically stable and ready for discharge from hospital to home but home or caregivers are not able to receive the child.
  • Respiratory support needs such as frequent suctioning, tracheostomy tube, or ventilator.
  • Nutritional support needs such as gastrostomy tube feedings or hyperalimentation.
  • Administration of antibiotics via PICC line or port-a-cath.
  • Other medical issues that may cause safety concerns if the child is unattended.
  • Parents/caregivers are in need of additional education, training and clinical support.
  • Home nursing is not available.
  • Home modifications are necessary before the child can safely return.
  • Caregiver may have personal or emergency health care needs.
  • Social circumstances may prevent the discharge to home.

Questions can be directed to:
Layenie Anderson, Director of Case Management
(630) 271-9155 ext 110

Parent/Caregiver Handbook

Parent/Caregiver Handbook: Almost Home Kids is the premier transitional & respite care program in the State of Illinois since 1999. Our mission is to provide transitional care in a home-like setting to children with complicated health needs, training for their families and respite care.

Our highly trained and qualified staff takes every measure to ensure we attend to every aspect of your child’s care. We understand that taking care of a child who is medically complex can be challenging, but we are here to help you every step of the way and get your child home as soon as possible.

We will provide you with a copy of the Parent/Caregiver Handbook during your tour of Almost Home Kids.