Build a Place For Them To Call Home!

[Special Video Update] The final two homes are making progress – but we still need your help to complete the builds!

Families are facing a crisis!


A child with profound autism – and displaying the most intense behaviors – needs an environment that can support the diagnosis as it is often more debilitating and challenging than other types of autism. And with COVID nearly eliminating all community-based services for these individuals – so many families started facing a crisis. They found themselves in an immediate state of panic because their loved one no longer had the support that they needed . . . that they deserved.


As a result, the unexpected pandemic created an overflowing surge in need for residential services: in fact, Little City receives nearly 70 new referrals every two months . . . every two months! And with the state of Illinois ranked near the bottom in funding services for individuals with disabilities, having a place to call home continued to look less like a reality for most.

Building A Place for Them to Call Home

Since 2015, the Duffey Family Children’s Village has proven to be a transformational space for children with profound autism and other developmental disabilities. These homes offer a holistic Continuum of Care model that aims to help each child reach their highest level of independence by providing a safe environment best suited and designed specifically for their highest intensity needs. And right now, we are in the homestretch to complete the village – building the sixth and final home.


But they can’t call it home yet…

It’s the homestretch: They need your help to call it home!

You can make a lifetime impact – consider a naming opportunity!


You can leave a lasting legacy on the sixth and final home in the Duffey Family Children’s Village! By selecting a naming opportunity, you will be a lifetime foundation in the lives of children with profound autism – enabling them to live a life filled with hope, happiness, and optimism.

By pledging your support, your name or name of someone you choose to honor will be recognized with a plaque acknowledging your philanthropy.

Contact Tina Maraccini, Chief Development Officer, to learn more: [email protected]

The Story

The homes make a difference

Chapter 1: The Vision for Little City’s Children
Created from the dream of a group of committed parents, Little City opened its doors on Oct. 1, 1959 to provide help, dignity and love that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve.
Today, that dream is still alive for the many children served by Little City and their families. Residential services, recreational activities and educational opportunities on the Palatine campus provide children with disabilities a strong foundation to live meaningful and dignified lives to be carried over into adulthood. And although Little City’s mission has remained the same throughout its history, its children’s population has changed.
None of this would be possible without the completion of the Duffey Family Children’s Village. These homes — born from the visionary thinking of the organization’s leaders and the generosity of its donors — have set the stage for a future filled with the hope, dignity and love that laid the foundation for Little City six decades ago.
Chapter 2: The Transformational Environment of the Duffey Family Children’s Village
Little City marked a monumental milestone in 2015 when the first two homes in the Duffey Family Children’s Village opened its doors and welcomed 16 children home.
Arguably one of Little City’s greatest achievements, these first two homes—Larry’s Home and The Foglia Home—set the stage for innovation and meaningful change in the lives of the children residing in the village. Two years later the third home, The Coleman Foundation Home, opened. And then in 2019 the fourth, Marios’ Home, opened.
Throughout those first five years, lessons were learned and each home has improved to meet the changing needs of the children who live there. Now, Little City is in the final stages of completing the village and fulfilling the dream of its visionaries by setting out to build the fifth home.
Chapter 3:The Continuum of Care: Bridging Learning at Home and at School
One of the most important and impactful aspects of the Children’s Village is its proximity and seamless integration with the Center for Education, a therapeutic day school, on campus. 50% of the children who reside at Little City utilize the school which magnifies the importance of a holistic continuum of care for this young population.
Little City’s group homes and Center for Education serve youth who require specialized, evidence-based, intensive environments and supports. These youth require significant skill-acquisition to prepare them to transition into adulthood. Many of the skills and tools learned in school are transferred into their home and vice versa. The structure, consistency and reinforcement that this dual system of life-learning provides is integral to the continuum of care for children with special needs.
Chapter 4: The Continuum of Care: Vital Services for Intensive Interventions
By opening the fifth home in the Duffey Family Children’s Village, the beneficial outcomes will be maximized. Not only will more children with similar needs reside together, but another home on Little City’s campus will then become available to house children with intensive needs. This resulting outcome will be transformational to the children Little City serves.
Adjacent to the Duffey Family Children’s Village homes on campus, the high-intensity home, currently being renovated, will provide Little City the opportunity to treat more children that are currently not able to be served. Little City will be the first agency in the state to serve these children without institutionalization.
Chapter 5: Proven Success at the Duffey Family Children’s Village
For children with autism, which includes 90% of the children at Little City, life can be a daily struggle. But the homes at the Duffey Family Children’s Village have a solution.
These children:
> Live with social anxiety: Children will be selectively matched with other peers in the home who have similar behaviors, allowing for role models, and an increase in communication and socialization.
> Exhibit sensory sensitivity: Each home in the village will have a state-of-the-art Sensory Room.
> Lack skills needed for independence: Children will be taught skills such as toileting, bathing, cleaning, eating, cooking, etc.
> Struggle with mood and emotional issues: Private rooms will allow children to self-regulate and cope.
> May have a tendency to elope or self-injure: Homes are under 24/7 supervision with safety features such as security, customized furniture, and unique construction and building materials.
> Have language and communication deficits: Children have access to trained professionals, a therapeutic day school and modern technology devices for communicating.

Transformational Living at the Duffey Family Children’s Village

Since 1959

Little City has been on a mission to provide the best opportunities for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through innovative and personalized programming, we empower our individuals to create a meaningful life.


of Children at Little City have Autism

individualized focused intensive care


of current children have succeeded in regulating their emotional and sensory systems.


less emergency room visits and hospital visits

A Proven Success

A transformational space for children


Tommy first came to Little City as a student at the ChildBridge Center for Education in 2015. As his parents saw the improvement in their son and all Little City had to offer, they took the opportunity to transition Tommy into Larry’s Home at the Duffey Family Children’s Village in 2017. The results have been outstanding.

After just one year at Larry’s Home, Tommy learned to make his bed every morning, put away his clothes, shower and brush his teeth every day and contribute to meal planning and preparation with his housemates. The design of Larry’s Home helped Tommy thrive in developing both his personal and social skills. Individual rooms allow for each resident to be responsible for their own belongings while the common room and kitchen provide an opportunity for housemates to socialize.

Now at age 21, he recently transitioned to adult programming in one of Little City’s community group homes with three other young men. This move wouldn’t have been possible without the skills learned at the Children’s Village. Tommy is well on his way to working toward community employment and is now capable of living a life with as much independence as possible.


Braxton lives in the Duffey Family Children’s Village and was one of the original residents at Larry’s Home when it opened in 2015. He is a true testament to how effective the state-of-the-art homes can change a life as he made incredible improvements since arriving. Braxton initially came to Little City in 2009 and showed steady progress in communication and social skills, but it wasn’t until he was moved to Larry’s Home in 2015 that he really began to blossom.

Bill, Braxton’s father, said the biggest factor in his rapid progress has been the opportunity for Braxton to interact with housemates his own age while also having his own room for personal space.

“Braxton has thrived in Larry’s Home. Having his own bedroom has been key and moving in as one of the younger boys in a house with folks who were further along with social skills meant he started hanging out with and learning from his peers rather than simply sticking with adults,” Bill said. “Having long-term staff who know all the residents has really helped too.”