Date: August 17, 2023

Family Care Health Centers (FCHC) is 1 of 4 Missouri WIC Agencies Honored as 2023 Gold WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence by USDA

ST. LOUIS, MO – Family Care Health Centers (FCHC) is honored to have received the 2023 Gold WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence for exemplary breastfeeding peer support for WIC mothers by the USDA. FCHC is one of only four WIC agencies in Missouri that have earned the award this year. This is FCHC’s second consecutive time receiving this honor.

“Our breastfeeding peer support team works hard to help new mothers achieve their own breastfeeding goals. They provide personalized education and guidance and work together with each mother to make sure she feels supported,” said Amy Callico, Director of Nutrition Services & WIC for Family Care Health Centers.  “Their passion and dedication have helped FCHC WIC reach the highest breastfeeding duration rates of the past eight years. We are fortunate to have a talented and dedicated breastfeeding team at FCHC..”

Breastfeeding is a natural way to provide numerous benefits for babies and their mothers.  Infants receive valuable nutrients that impact their health and digestive system.  Skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding and boosts the mother’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that helps breast milk flow and provides a feeling of calm.  Additionally, there are the financial benefits of free breastmilk and a potentially healthier child, reducing health care costs.

Most mothers have an improved chance of successful breastfeeding when surrounded by a positive support system.  This includes programs like the WIC breastfeeding peer support program at FCHC, which allows WIC mothers to meet with counselors and lactation consultants during all stages of breastfeeding.  The program increases breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among participants.

“The Missouri WIC program fully supports all mothers who would like to breastfeed,” said Lisa Schlientz, DHSS and WIC state breastfeeding coordinator. “We are proud of the extra efforts made by these {four} agencies to provide a full range of breastfeeding services to WIC participants who choose breastfeeding to provide a healthy start for their baby. This support empowers our Missouri moms and enables them to be successful.”

WIC agencies that have operated a peer counseling program for at least one year and meet all of the required core components of the WIC Breastfeeding Model for Peer Counseling, including recruiting and hiring from WIC’s target population and being available to WIC clients outside usual clinic hours, are eligible to apply for the award.

The WIC program serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, resources on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support and referrals to health care. Missourians interested in learning about the benefits of WIC may visit WIC.Mo.Gov or call TEL-LINK at 1-800-835-5465 to find the WIC local agency in their county.

About Family Care Health Centers
Family Care Health Centers (FCHC) is a non-profit community health center dedicated to providing affordable and accessible comprehensive primary health care services to the residents of St. Louis and the surrounding communities.  For over 50 years, FCHC has been committed to offering a full range of services, equalizing the accessibility of quality healthcare to our hometown community members.  FCHC can be found online at, Facebook at, and LinkedIn at