WIC Program For Women, Infants And Children
The federal government has enacted a variety of financial assistance programs over the years, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or WIC Program was first authorized by Section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.1 However, it didn’t start until 1974 after a two-year pilot program.
It directs federal online grants to the states that are used to provide food, medical referrals, and nutrition education to pregnant and postpartum women on low incomes, breastfeeding women, and nutritionally vulnerable infants and children up to age 5.
What Is WIC Program?
- 1 What Is WIC Program?
- 1.1 Basic Objective Of WIC Program
- 1.2 Benefits Of Good Nutrition
- 1.3 How To Apply for WIC Program?
- 1.4 Automatic Enrollment
- 1.5 Admission Requirements
- 1.6 How To Enroll?
- 1.7 WIC Breastfeeding Support
- 1.8 New Classroom!
- 1.9 Online Education
- 1.10 Nutritional Education
- 1.11 FAQs About WIC Program
- 1.12 # Is The WIC Program Effective?
- 1.13 # What Foods Do You Get With WIC Program?
- 1.14 # How Do You Make An Appointment?
WIC is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program had about 344,000 participants in 1975 and was growing rapidly. WIC now serves about half of the infants born in the United States.
However, enrollment has declined in recent years, both in terms of the number of cases and the proportion of the eligible families cared for.
Modernization is needed to make the program more accessible to eligible families and to allow mothers returning to work to participate.
The USDA also runs feeding programs for older children from low-income families. These include government-sponsored free or low-cost breakfast and lunch programs in schools and childcare facilities.
Basic Objective Of WIC Program
- The WIC Program for Women, Infants, and Children has provided groceries, grocery vouchers, and nutritional support and education for pregnant women and mothers of infants since 1974.
- WIC now serves about half of the infants born in the United States.
- Numerous studies have found that recipients of WIC have healthier infants, better nutrition, and better childhood immunization rates.
- WIC Program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which also runs lunch and breakfast programs for schools.
Benefits Of Good Nutrition
Four decades of research has found that pregnant women who participate in WIC give birth to healthier babies who are more likely to survive infancy. WIC mothers have better infant feeding practices and feeding habits. They buy and eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Children of participating mothers were immunized at higher rates. They had better mental development by age two and did better on reading tests later in life.
How To Apply for WIC Program?
Eligible participants in the following programs may be automatically enrolled in WIC:
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as “Food Stamps”
- Temporary Assistance for Families in Need (TANF, formerly known as AFDC or Assistance for Families with Dependent Children).
Applicants do not have to participate in any other support program to receive WIC program benefits. To be eligible to participate, the individual must be one of the following:
- Childbed (up to six months after termination of pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (up to the infant’s first birthday)
Income eligibility ranges from 100% to 185% of state poverty income guidelines and varies from state to state. Applicants must be seen by a health professional who will determine if the person is at dietary risk. In many cases this is done at the WIC Clinic free of charge for the applicant.
How To Enroll?
- You or children you wish to enroll in the WIC program
- ID for yourself and any eligible family members (children aged 5-5)
- Proof of address of current residence (can be brought within 30 days of enrollment)
Examples include: utility bill, California ID card, letter or postcard
- Proof of income (can be submitted within 30 days of enrollment)
Examples include: Checks from both parents, benefit notification from the TANF, employer notification, Medi-Cal card, wage tax W2 or unemployment notification.
- Vaccination record for children up to the age of two
- Doctor’s Form (can be brought within 30 days of enrollment)
- Referral form for pregnancy and postpartum/breastfeeding
- Pediatric referral form
- Nutrition questionnaire (can be obtained in the clinic or online)
1. Pregnant woman
2. woman after childbirth
3. Infant birth up to 3 months
4. Infant 4-11 months
5. child 1-4 years
WIC Breastfeeding Support
WIC mothers are encouraged to breastfeed. Click here to learn more about breastfeeding.
WIC Program provides mothers with various resources to make breastfeeding successful. WIC helps mothers by providing:
- Breastfeeding education and prenatal and postpartum support
- Individual breastfeeding advice with handouts
- Access to electric and manual breast pumps
- Still Hotline (714) 834-8363
- Breastfeeding-friendly clinic settings
- Referrals to lactation consultants in the community
- Resources on breastfeeding in Orange County
- Resource list for breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding Tips
The City of Del Rio’s WIC program recently renovated its classroom to offer Customer Centered Nutrition Education (CCNE). Client-Centered Nutrition Education (CCNE) is an educational style that encourages participants to take an active role in their own learning and allows staff to act as guides or facilitators.
CCNE provides opportunities for group discussions, includes hands-on activities and, most importantly, allows participants to share experiences and provide one another with social support. CCNE also provides Nurse residency program. CCNE makes the learning experience more fun, engaging and meaningful, not only for the participants but also for the employees.
Participants who are unable to get to the WIC website and are offered the option to take a nutrition class online at home can visit http://www.wichealth.org/ and follow the steps below.
- Create an account and set up your profile
- Choose from the 26 available lessons
- Complete the lesson
- Fill out the survey
- Print or email your certificate of completion
Pregnant women, new mothers and legal guardians receive nutritional education and advice. The focus of the nutrition education program is on preventing health problems and improving health status. Clients learn about their specific nutritional needs and the nutrients required during key growth periods, including pregnancy and infancy and early childhood.
The advice is also aimed specifically at recognized nutritional problems (e.g. anemia, underweight, special nutritional problems). Education is provided through individual counselling, in group classes and on the internet.
Some courses currently offered are:
Benefits of Breastfeeding and Risks of Infant Formula, Breastfeeding – Position & Attachment and understanding your baby’s signals.
FAQs About WIC Program
# Is The WIC Program Effective?
Absolutely! Studies conducted by non-governmental organizations prove that WIC is one of the most successful and cost-effective nutritional intervention programs in the country. Since its inception in 1974, the WIC program has earned a reputation as one of the most successful federally funded nutrition programs in the United States. Here are the facts:
WIC Participation Improves Birth Outcomes
- Approximately one in four women in the United States receive WIC services, and numerous studies have shown that pregnant women who participate in WIC receive early prenatal care.
- WIC’s prenatal care services reduce the rate of low birth weight babies by approximately 34%.
- Every WIC dollar spent on pregnant women translates into $1.92 to $4.21 in Medicaid savings for newborns and their mothers.
- Medicaid benefit benefits decrease between $12,000 and $15,000 for each prevented birth of a very low birth weight infant.
WIC Program Participation Improves Infant And Child Health
Fifty-three percent of all infants born in the United States receive WIC benefits. WIC contributes to normal growth, reduces anemia, increases vaccination rates, improves access to regular health/social services and improves nutrition. Research has shown that:
- WIC infants are in better health than eligible infants not participating in WIC.
- WIC benefits have a positive effect on the nutrient absorption of infants and children.
- WIC participation is associated with increased use of preventive measures and improved child health.
The WIC program is cost-effective in protecting or improving the health/nutrition of low-income women, infants and children. A previous study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that every dollar spent on the prenatal component of WIC saves three dollars in hospital bills.
WIC supports the community. WIC brings healthy food to your family.
- In California, WIC groceries purchased at grocery stores bring in communities about $62 a month for each WIC participant. Approximately 1.5 million mothers, babies and children receive WIC groceries each month, raising approximately $93 million for communities across California.
- WIC supports community health providers by encouraging WIC families to seek regular health care.
- Authorized WIC retailers are required to offer healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and other healthy foods. These communities might otherwise lack such healthy choices.
- Go to this 2-minute YouTube video below to see what WIC can do for your families.
# What Foods Do You Get With WIC Program?
Depending on your nutritional needs, you can get the following foods. You can get the following foods. For specific food packages go to the main menu of the WIC homepage.
- WIC Grocery BagsFruits and Vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned).
- 100% juice.
- Whole grain/whole grain products: 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, soft corn, or whole wheat tortillas.
- Beans, peas, lentils (canned or dried).
- Peanut butter.
- Canned fish (light tuna or pink salmon).
- milk, eggs, cheese.
- Soy milk
- infant cereals, fruits and vegetables and meats.
- Standard Contractual Forms.
- Exempted (special) food for infants and children with special needs.
- Medicinal foods for children and women with special needs.
# How Do You Make An Appointment?
You may be eligible for WIC Services if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have given birth or have children under the age of five and meet the income guidelines.
Log in to http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/ to verify your eligibility.
Apply WIC in 3 easy steps…
- Go to http://www.apps.cdph.ca.gov/ to select a WIC site near you.
- Call our toll-free number 1-888-Your WIC or 1-888-968-7942 to schedule an appointment.
- Bring your ID, proof of address and proof of income to your WIC appointment.
Very easy! Take action now. Join WIC today!