The Reduction of Infant Mortality in Illinois

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

Indicators of maternal and infant health in Illinois have shown consistent improvement over the past 25 years. In 2005 (most recent data available), Illinois ranked 31st among the states and the District of Columbia in infant mortality. Unfortunately, ranking 31st also serves as a clear measure that there is much more work to be done.

As reflected in this report, there is a wealth of data to indicate that Illinois' infant mortality reduction programming is working to improve outcomes. Mothers, infants and children on Medicaid who participate in WIC and Family Case Management show better birth outcomes than those receiving Medicaid only. Prevention programming aimed at both individuals and communities is not only saving lives but also conserving limited resources. Health service indicators such as immunization rates, well child visits and insurance coverage are much higher now than in the recent past, due to the concerted efforts of WIC and FCM service participants, providers and administrators. Despite these improvements, Illinois will realize minimal gains in its infant mortality ranking until the ratio of black to white infant deaths is improved. Enhancement of services directed to preventing very low birth-weight such as Targeted and Intensive Prenatal Case Management, Healthy Start and Healthy Births for Healthy Communities holds significant potential for lowering the disparity between black and white infant mortality rates and Illinois' overall infant mortality rate.