Our History

The nurses of the Infant Welfare Society in the 1900s.

Over a Century of Healthcare

We have led innovative community-based preventive healthcare for over 100 years, designed from the beginning to provide Chicago’s most vulnerable families and communities with access to affordable health care.

In 1911, a series of “milk stations” were established across Chicago to provide nutritional support in order to combat high rates of infant mortality. The “milk stations” evolved into well-child clinics, and IWS continued to grow and innovate.

In 1924, IWS pioneered and incorporated child development and behavioral health counseling.

In 1968, IWS brought on two psychiatric social workers.


In 1970, IWS led community health clinics by offering pediatric dentistry services.

In 1991, IWS began offering pediatric orthodontic care and in 1995, offering pediatric optometry.

In 2015, IWS launched the Child-centered Health and Advanced Therapies (CHAT)  program to provide low-income children early access to developmental delays assessment, and both speech and occupational therapy. In 2017, IWS began serving men in the adult health program and incorporated a Care Coordination model to connect patients with necessary treatments and social services.

In 2018, IWS launched a Centering Pregnancy™ program, a group prenatal program.

One of the first milk stations throughout the city.

IWS provides a healthcare home where the whole family has access to integrated and coordinated healthcare and social services, allowing them to thrive and meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.