The Reduction of Infant Mortality in Illinois - Fiscal Year 2008

The Family Case Management Program and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children

Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2008 (pdf)

Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Community Health and Prevention

January 2009

Letter from the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services:

Dear Governor Blagojevich and Members of the General Assembly:

It is my pleasure to present the 3rd annual report on the Department's WIC and Family Case Management programs.  These programs have contributed to a steady reduction in the state's infant mortality rate, which reached 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 - a rate that is tied with the lowest rate in the state's history.  As a result of these efforts, Illinois' ranking in infant mortality among the states has risen from 44th in 1990 to 31st in 2005.

Illinois is unique in its effort to integrate the delivery of these two major programs for low-income women and children. The Department has been able to blend the delivery, financing, monitoring and evaluation of these programs through innovation and performance management.  The comprehensive integration of maternal and child health programming is providing the foundation for future expansion and enhancement through the integration of additional service for this vulnerable population.

The Department has achieved uncommon results through this effort.  Rates of prenatal weight gain immunizations, breastfeeding, well child care and developmental screening have been steadily improving.  Crude rates of premature birth and infant mortality among Medicaid-eligible pregnant women who participate in these programs are substantially better than those observed among similar women who did not participate in either program.

While we continue to make progress, there is a persistent racial disparity in infant mortality that must be eliminated.  An African American infant born in Illinois is still more than two and a half times as likely than a Caucasian infant to die before reaching one year of age.  Our current efforts are commendable, but they are not enough.

This tragic loss of life must not continue and its disparate impact on Illinois' minority communities must be addressed.  I look forward to working with each of you to improve the health of all Illinoisans.



Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.

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