WIC Program 
(Women, Infants and Children)

Program Overview 
The WIC Program “seeks to improve the health of women, infants and children; to reduce the incidence of infant mortality, premature births and low birth weight; to promote breastfeeding; and to aid in the growth and development of children.”
 
The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) WIC Program currently provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, nutritious supplemental foods, and referrals to other social and health care services to over 8,000 participants a month.
  
Number of Program Participants
 
Fiscal Year
Average Caseload
2005
7709
2006
7732
2007
7457
2008
7865
2009
8298
  
Eligibility Requirements 
An applicant must live in the county in which they apply.
 
Federal income guidelines must be met. Guidelines are updated annually and may be viewed at http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic .
 
Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age five must be  assessed and found to be at nutritional risk. 
  
At a typical WIC appointment:
Eligibility requirements are checked, including proof of residency of Winnebago County, income, etc
 
Height, weight, and blood iron assessments are performed at no cost.
 
Health and nutrition status are assessed and nutrition education is provided.
 
Supplemental Foods 
Participants meeting eligibility requirements are provided with vouchers for supplemental foods which provide important nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and D, calcium, fiber, iron, zinc, and folic acid.
 
Women and children over the age of one may receive milk, cheese, eggs, cereal, juice, peanut butter, dry beans, whole grains, and a voucher for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables. 
 
Breastfeeding is the best source of infant nutrition. Infants may receive supplemental iron fortified formula, infant cereal, and infant fruits and vegetables. 
 
Program Integration
Over 97% of pregnant and infant WIC Program participants are also involved with the WCHD Family Case Management Program which provides additional support, education, assessments, and referrals.
 
WIC works closely with the WCHD Pediatric Program to ensure children are up-to-date with required immunizations. 
 
Capillary lead testing is offered through the WIC clinics. Test results are then available to the WCHD Lead Program. 
 
Pregnancy referrals come from various sources, including Crusader Community Health and the  WCHD Family Planning Clinic.   
 
The UIC Rockton Clinic provides well-child exams and primary care at our South Beloit location.
 
The University of Illinois Extension Service has helped provide nutrition education to WIC participants. 
  
Breastfeeding Promotion and Support
Breastfeeding is the best source of infant nutrition.
 
Currently, six WIC Program Nutritionists are Certified Lactation Consultants and are available to help participants work through any problems they may be experiencing.
 
An electric pump loan program is available to clients with infants in neonatal intensive care.
 
Our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor promotes, educates, provides support, and follows-up with participants.
 
The Region 2 (Northern Illinois) Breastfeeding Task Force encompasses our 9 county region promoting, supporting, and defending breastfeeding through education and community involvement. 
  
WCHD WIC Breastfeeding Rates
 
Fiscal Year
Initiation
6 months
12 months
2008
53.1%
19.5%
7.5%
2009
57.4%
19.8%
7.2%
 
  
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Project 
The WCHD WIC Program was chosen as the pilot site in Illinois for the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Project (FASD) which is projected to go state-wide in 2010. 
 
This project, which began September 2, 2008, is a collaborative effort between the WIC Program, Illinois Department of Human Services, Rosecrance, and project funder, Northrop Grumman. 
 
Pregnant WIC participants are screened for alcohol use during their current pregnancy and an additional assessment is performed for any woman found to be consuming alcohol. 
 
If required, a brief intervention will be held and the client will be asked to set a goal to reduce or stop drinking. This goal is addressed at subsequent follow-up visits. A referral to Rosecrance for additional screening, and possible treatment, is provided as needed. 
 
Through August 2009, 2,372 women were screened, 62 brief interventions were held, and 1 participant was referred to Rosecrance