Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Family & Community Services

Program Description

Target

Income-eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants.

Eligibility Criteria

Pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum (6 months) women who have a household income of 185% of poverty or less, and who have been assessed by a WIC health professional.

Purpose

To improve breastfeeding support, initiation and duration rates, to reduce infant mortality, to improve cognitive abilities and overall long term health benefits of infants and children, and to reduce the incidence of obesity in childhood and later life.

Services

The Peer Counselor Program provides specialized breastfeeding education, encouragement and support to pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants. Peer Counselors do home visits, telephone consultations, hospital visits, and lead support groups. Peer Counselors also assist participants with breast pump use and provide outreach to hospitals and physicians on breastfeeding services.

Delivery Method

Local WIC agencies provide Peer Counselor services to eligible participants at seventy (70) sites throughout Illinois. And the WIC staff refer clients to the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for ongoing breastfeeding support and education.

Program Data

Program Data FY09 FY10 FY11
Program Expenditures * (Numbers in 000's) $603.0 $1118.8 $2016.5
Number of Grantees 40 58 64
Caseload Served ** 42,589 42,922 43,663

* Reflects funding on a Federal Fiscal Year October 1-September 30

** WIC Peer Counselor Summary Annual Report for SFY06-FY11

Program Accomplishments

  • Peer Counselors improve breastfeeding initiation rates: the breastfeeding initiation rate for women receiving Peer Counselor services was 81.2% compared to 61.4% for women without Peer Counselor services. (WIC Peer Counselor Quarterly Summary Reports FY11).
  • Peer Counselors improve breastfeeding duration rates: the one-month breastfeeding duration rate for women receiving Peer Counselor services was 73.0% compared to 61.3% for women without Peer Counselor services. (WIC Peer Counselor Quarterly Summary Reports FY11).