Deskside Reference Guide

Role of WIC Staff.
ROLE OF WIC STAFF At each certification and mid-certification appointment, give parents the opportunity to complete the age-appropriate checklist. The checklist may also be used during other regular appointments and any time a parent or WIC staff has a concern or questions about a child’s development.

Have the parent complete a checklist for each child being certified that day; if the child is between checklist ages, use the younger checklist. If the child was born prematurely, use the corrected age.

Refer the parent for follow-up if indicated. If allowed by your state, the referral can be noted in the electronic data system. See details in the purple box below.


  1. “You may have noticed the pictures on the walls and floor about developmental milestones. Tracking how (child’s name) plays, speaks, learns, acts and moves for his/her age is just as important as measuring his/her height and weight.”
  2. “So, we are using this checklist to help track your child’s development.”
  3. “Let’s go through this developmental milestone checklist now to see how ______is doing on his/her milestones. Let’s answer these first two questions together. Does ______ (read first item on checklist)? Does ______ (read second item)?”
  4. “Go through the rest of the checklist and let me know if you have any questions. Start by putting ______’s name and age on top, along with today’s date.”
Be sure the parent writes the child’s name, age, and the date on the checklist and completes both columns of the checklist. Provide assistance if needed. Then review the checked boxes to determine next steps.
Be sure the parent writes the child’s name, age, and the date on the checklist and completes both columns of the checklist. Provide assistance if needed. Then review the checked boxes to determine next steps:
  1. ALL milestone boxes are checked AND
  2. NO purple boxes are checked AND
  3. NO written parental concerns



  1. 1 or more milestone box is NOT checked OR
  2. 1 or more purple box IS checked OR
  3. Written parental concerns


“It looks like _________ is on track for meeting these developmental milestones.” “It would be a good idea to talk with your health care provider about this checklist. I really care about what the doctor has to say about ____________’s development.”
“Take this checklist home with you and share it with your family and ____’s doctor so they can see how great _______ is doing.” “Please call ____________’s health care provider to schedule a follow-up appointment for developmental screening.”
“If you have a smart phone, you can download a free app called CDC’s Milestone Tracker to keep tracking milestones until your next visit.” “I am going to turn this checklist over and write ________’s health care provider’s name on it so that he/she knows exactly what you want to talk about.”
“If you ever have any concerns or questions about _________’s development, be sure to talk to the doctor.”  “I want to know what the health care provider has to say the next time you come for your (date) WIC appointment.”
Give the checklist to the parent.


NOTE: If the parent answered the question about parent concerns at the bottom of the checklist, use your clinical judgment to determine if the child should be referred to their doctor or for other community services.

Check for understanding.


When possible, the referral can be noted in the child’s record. If available, an alert can be set as a follow-up reminder for staff. This enables staff to ask the parent about the outcome of this referral at the next visit.




Do I have to do this? No. If you prefer not to, we can just move on.

Why are you asking me these questions? Thinking about how a child plays, speaks, acts and moves is just as important as tracking his or her height and weight. Height and weight can be indicators of healthy growth, just like these milestones can be indicators of healthy development.

I already filled out a checklist (here/at the doctor’s office/at daycare). Do I have to do it again? Children grow and change quickly at this early age so it’s a great idea to do this kind of checklist frequently. It’s a good way to make sure a child is on track. Note: If a child already has been diagnosed with a developmental delay or is receiving specialized services for developmental concerns (e.g., speech/language therapy, early childhood special education, or other early intervention like speech therapy), there is no need for the parent to complete a checklist or for a referral to the doctor. Often this can be indicated in a child’s record so the checklists are not brought up with the parent in the future.

Who is sponsoring this program? WIC provides oversight for this program. (A state would add their identifying information here if appropriate) is also supporting the program. This program was originally developed with the WIC program in Missouri, in partnership with the University of Missouri and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a federal agency interested in the health of children and families.

Where can I go for more information on this project or to comment on this project? Contact (person’s name) for more information. You can call or email at (telephone number and e mail address).


What is a developmental milestone? A developmental milestone is a skill that most children can do by a certain age. For example, most children can say “mama” or “dada” by their first birthday. These checklists have been developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program and are adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Caring for Your Baby and Young Child and Bright Futures publications.

Where can I go for more information on developmental milestones? Additional sources of information include:

What do I do if my doctor isn’t responsive to my concerns?

  • Acting early on concerns is the best way to help your child and you are doing the right thing; you know your child better than anyone
  • If your doctor tells you to “wait and see” and you feel uneasy about that advice, you can seek a second opinion with another doctor
  • You can also call [insert org name and number here] to find out if you child might qualify for services to help. You do not need a doctor’s referral to do so.

How quickly do I need to contact my child’s doctor? Is this an emergency? Can it wait until our next well-child visit? While not an emergency, developmental concerns should be addressed promptly. Please see your child’s doctor before your next WIC appointment. If your next well-child check-up with the doctor is more than a month away, don’t wait. Call and get a sooner appointment scheduled.