Network Coordinator: Julie Herzog (309) 929-0266 email@example.com
Address: Tazewell County Health Department
Tazewell, Peoria, and Woodford Counties: Cultivating Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes Through Referrals
The Tri-County AOK Network, formerly Tazewell County AOK Network, is dedicated to building a thriving community for children birth to age five and their families and is one of the original 10 AOK Networks established in FY2000. Our collaborative work engages community partners to ensure infants and young children in Tazewell, Peoria, and Woodford Counties receive the strongest start in life, so they grow up safe, healthy, happy, ready to succeed, and eager to learn. Together, we connect children, caregivers, and community members with important resources they need to thrive.
The Tri-County AOK, serving Tazewell, Peoria, and Woodford Counties, is in the central region of the state, bordering the Illinois River.
- Tazewell County has suburban and rural communities; its population of children under five years is estimated to be 7,389. Tazewell County has a poverty rate of 7.6%, and a racial/ethnic minority population of approximately 6.3%.
- Peoria County also has suburban and rural communities and is part of a multi-county region along the Illinois River called the Heart of Illinois. Peoria County’s population of children under five years is 12,555. Peoria County has a poverty rate of 14.2%, and a racial/ethnic minority population of approximately 31%.
- Woodford County is a rural county and has 2,344 children under the age of five. Woodford County has a poverty rate of 6.2%, and racial/ethnic minority population of approximately 4.6%.
According to the (2018) Illinois Risk and Reach Report on Maternal Morbidity, Peoria is rated High Risk and Tazewell is rated as Moderate Risk. In addition to those maternal morbidity rates, children under 5 years of age in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties have many risk factors that can contribute to negative outcomes early in life. AOK Network is working across the three counties to impact these factors.
The Tazewell AOK Network conducted a community assessment and root cause analyses from 2018 to 2019 to understand strengths and challenges experienced by families. Through these analyses, we learned that not all babies are born healthy, and fewer families were connected to the needed services.
In 2019, the AOK Network was selected as a pilot site for the tri-county area to implement IRIS (Integrated Referral & Intake System), a web-based community referral system that helps organizations connect the families they serve to the right resources in their community. The AOK Network partners brought together community stakeholders focused on maternal and child health services, home visiting, local health departments, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition, Education, and Supplemental Food Program), early intervention, Head Start, and coordinated intake to develop a streamlined referral process and vision to impact maternal outcomes and healthy babies.
Our TPW IRIS VISION: Tazewell-Peoria-Woodford IRIS community partners will collaborate through effective referrals and timely follow-up, resulting in greater awareness and full utilization of community resources in order to fully support family growth and well-being.
After establishing common referral processes and developing community standards, the TPW IRIS launched in January 2020, just two months before COVID-19 impacted our area. Despite the pandemic, TPW IRIS has connected families to the services they need, increased and streamlined communication among providers, and strengthened collaboration. Since the launch, TPW has grown from 14 partners to more than 50 and continues to grow across multiple sectors to support and connect families to resources.
Before IRIS Initiative
- The Tri-County area lacked a coordinated system to send and/or receive referrals.
- High referral response times from within one week to over one month
- Lack of data to understand barriers to accessing services.
More than two years later
- Increased referral enrollment rate from 21% (2020) to 46% (2022)
- Improved coordination to ensure families are receiving needed and wanted referrals in a timely manner. Referral response time is less than two days.
- IRIS plays an important role to identify barriers that people are facing and ability to develop solutions to address them.
WIC has been a part of TPW IRIS since tri-county partnership began. WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care and social services for low-income families. It plays a crucial role in improving health for women, their infants, and young children.
Being a part of the AOK Network has benefited our program and our community tremendously. Having to adapt to program changes as a result of the pandemic has been significantly easier with the IRIS referral system. It has helped us to adapt to a more virtual world and connect clients with services earlier than ever before. WIC often receives referrals within days of a client delivering their baby. This allows us to provide critical breastfeeding support early on and help parents with their infant feeding goals. In just a 6-month period, WIC received a total of 318 referrals and were able to complete 296 (93%) of those. It is because of the strengthened partnerships as a direct result of the AOK Network that we are better able to serve those most in need of support in our community.Michelle Compton, Peoria City County Health Department WIC
- AOK Perinatal Depression Postcard 2021
- Tazewell-Peoria-Woodford (TPW) IRIS Community Story April 2021
- Tazewell AOK Resource Guide 2021
- AOK / CFC / Easterseals Learning Academy Parent Support Group
- TC AOK Mental Health Infographic
- TC AOK Bridges out of Poverty Infographic
- FY20 Tazewell AOK Infographic
- Tazewell IECAM Data
- FY22 Tazewell Network Capacity Plan at a Glance
- FY22 Tazewell Child & Family Plan at a Glance
- FY22 Tazewell Information & Referral Plan at a Glance
- FY23 Q1 TPW IRIS Data Dashboard
- TPW IRIS Community Story November 2022