Municipal Platform

ChiTOT - a Mayor’s Directive to Improve Toddler Health

9 June 2020

In 2015, Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel, having observed the wireless industry’s text4baby service wished to create a local version that would reach Chicago parents. The program would deliver weekly Women-Infants-Children (WIC) alerts with developmental timelines based upon the gender and age of the child. The City’s Department of Information Technology (DoIT) turned to Motorola Solutions and AGENT511 to expand its existing text program. The result was ChiTEXT, to meet the needs of today’s WIC recipients.


3-year multilingual weekly toddler text milestones

The new initiative – called ChiTOT – was built with several new features that included weekly milestone messages to parents and two-way interactive search capabilities for local healthcare resources such as nearest libraries and clinics.  The content for the weekly age-specific messages was derived by the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs.  Content was translated into Spanish and Polish and uploaded to the AGENT511 REACH Preference Management platform. Lengthier content was separately recorded on the Internet and embedded as a shortened link into messages.

WIC recipients could subscribe for alerts by visiting the website and entering the child’s birth date and gender or via interactive text message.  REACH would deliver timely, relevant content to parents.  The program performed well and was thoroughly tested and reviewed by the Urban Labs team.  Training was conducted with program stakeholders as well as City 3-1-1 personnel and Department of Information Technology.

The program was launched to the public in 2016 in an announcement by City Hall.

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