FCM has its roots in the Prenatal Care program and the state's Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative Families with a Future (FWF). The Department implemented the Prenatal Care program in 1981, beginning with grants to 10 local health departments and other community-based agencies. The program provided health education, prenatal care services (including physical examinations, prenatal vitamins, laboratory services and other procedures) and referrals to other appropriate supportive services in the community. The program was expanded to an additional 20 sites in 1983 as a part of the Parents Too Soon initiative, and was expanded statewide in 1985 as a part of the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative.
Families with a Future was created by the Illinois Infant Mortality Reduction Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989 ch.111-1/2 par 7001 et seq.), which was enacted on December 2, 1985. The Act implemented the Department's "9 By '90 Plan" to help Illinois reach the U.S. Surgeon General's goal of no more than nine infant deaths per thousand live births by 1990. The plan provided for the establishment of comprehensive, community-based service networks that would provide case management and assure that high-risk pregnant women and their infants had access to specific set of services. This innovative and comprehensive approach to service delivery in high-risk targeted areas resulted in Families with a Future being designated a semifinalist for the Innovations in State and Local Government award of the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 amended Title XIX of the Social Security Act to allow states to cover targeted case management and health education activities for low-income pregnant women and infants through the Medicaid program. After many months of planning with the IDHFS, the Department implemented procedures in the FWF and Prenatal Care programs. Federal matching funds were obtained by claiming MCH program outreach and case management activities as part of the cost of administering the Medicaid program in Illinois. This transaction added millions of dollars to the FWF and Prenatal Care programs.
The Edgar Administration's maternal and child health initiative, Healthy Moms/Healthy Kids, replaced Families with a Future in 1993. In addition to outreach and case management, Healthy Moms/Healthy Kids introduced managed care for Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and young children in Chicago. The program budget for case management was expanded to provide sufficient resources to serve all Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and children under three years of age statewide. This expansion, in addition to the Department's existing resources for the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, brought the resources for this component to its present total, in excess of $40 million.
The managed care, outreach and case management components of the Healthy Moms/Healthy Kids program in Chicago were placed under the auspices of First Health, Inc., a managed-care intermediary with previous experience in several states. Downstate, the case management and outreach components of Healthy Moms/Healthy Kids continued to be provided by the network of local health departments and other community-based organizations that had provided these services for the Families with a Future and Prenatal Care programs. The program model was changed to focus exclusively on outreach and case management; the maintenance of service provider networks was de-emphasized.
The managed care component of Healthy Moms/Healthy Kids was discontinued in June 1995. The case management component of the program continued in SFY'96 under joint administration of the IDPH and the IDHFS. In SFY'97, all of the resources for outreach and case management were transferred to the IDPH and the program was renamed "Family Case Management." The program was transferred to the IDHS on July 1, 1997.
The Illinois WIC program began in 1974, serving a caseload of 12,000 low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and infants and children up to 5 years of age. At that time the program was offered through eight local agencies serving nine counties.
In 1998, the "Dan Glickman Pyramid of Excellence Awards" were established by the USDA to showcase the best Food and Nutrition Programs across the country. That year, the Illinois WIC Program received the first Glickman award in the WIC category for the WIC Food Center Project. In 1999, the program received the second Glickman award for excellence in administration of the WIC program based upon the development and implementation of the Cornerstone management information system. These were the only two Glickman awards presented by the USDA for excellence in WIC program administration.
Today, WIC provides nutrition education, health care referral, breastfeeding support and supplemental nutritious foods to over 289,000 women, infants and children through 220 clinics statewide. WIC continues to regularly update eligibility risks to reflect current health concerns related to prematurity, obesity and diet quality. A new risk will be added in the coming year to address environmental tobacco smoke. Strides have been made in making services client-centered and staff are receiving training on motivational interviewing, stages of change and other proven behavioral change techniques. Loving Support breastfeeding peer counseling programs were established in 2004 and the program has expanded each year since. Besides serving as a resource and role model for breastfeeding women, they also provide an important link to other health services in the community. Through WIC, Illinois babies are healthier and have improved overall long term health benefits.