Developmental Milestone Checklist Program - Online Implementation Guide for WIC Program Staff

little girl holding mother's hand

CDC’s milestones and parent tips have been updated and new checklist ages have been added (15 and 30 months). For more information about the updates to CDC’s developmental milestones, please review the Pediatrics journal article and these important key points.

Developmental Milestone Checklist Program –
Online Implementation Guide for WIC Program Staff

WIC providers know that how a child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves for his or her age are important signs of a child’s healthy growth and development.

When a child’s development is delayed, WIC providers also know the value of a timely referral to support both the child and family.

The Developmental Milestone Checklist Program, developed in collaboration with WIC staff and tested in WIC clinics, helps you engage parents in monitoring their children’s development and support them with timely referrals when needed.

To learn more about the program, click here to watch this short video.

The Program has 3 core components:

  • Environmental Graphics—Engaging graphics on the walls and floors of the clinic introduce milestone monitoring in a fun and friendly way.
  • Administering Checklists—Staff invite the parent to complete a parent-friendly milestone checklist during certification and mid-certification visits, or whenever there is a question or concern.
  • Making a Referral—Staff review checklists and make referrals if there are any missing milestones or other concerns noted.

No longer hosting in-person visits or going hybrid? Check out these virtual options

Simple messages and easy-to-use tools are integrated seamlessly into your clients’ regular visits, typically taking less than 5 minutes per visit.

This guide provides all the guidance you need to get your Milestone Checklist Program up and running. Remember, you can adapt this model to best fit your clinic and processes.

Why WIC?

  • WIC staff are likely to encounter children with developmental disabilities because developmental disabilities are common—affecting about 1 in 6 children—even if they are not always readily apparent.
  • Children with nutritional risk factors are at increased risk of developmental delay and need close monitoring. Early identification can open the door to services and support that can help the child gain skills and help parents better support their child’s needs.
  • Nutrition and development go hand-in-hand. Tuning in to their child’s development can help parents be more responsive to and supportive of their baby’s feeding cues, boost parents’ feeding confidence, and lead to positive feeding interactions.
  • WIC staff can benefit from the tools and resources provided by this program when talking with parents about their child’s development, especially when parents raise a developmental concern.
  • Making referrals for potential developmental delay supports the WIC framework of monitoring children’s growth and development and making referrals to community resources.
  • WIC staff have reported that this Program engages parents, educates, and empowers staff members, and leads to completed doctor referrals.

The guidance provided in this guide is based on the WIC Milestone Checklist Program designed and tested by the University of Missouri in partnership the Missouri Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, and supported with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This guidance was updated by the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) through the Developmental Monitoring Project for WIC, supported with funding from the CDC.