The National WIC Association applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI) for their leadership and teamwork with Members of both parties on the Committee to create a strong, bi-partisan Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization bill. Scheduled for mark-up tomorrow morning, the bill, if passed, would set policies to strengthen the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other child nutrition programs for 5 years.
The bill includes provisions from the Wise Investment in our Children Act, also known as the WIC Act, sponsored by Senator Casey (D-PA), giving states the option to enroll children in WIC until their sixth birthday or until they enter full day kindergarten. Currently, eligibility for WIC terminates on a child's 5th birthday. The bill also gives states the option to certify infants for up two years, reducing a barrier to child participation in the program. Additionally, the bill authorizes $25 million/year more for funding to help all states implement electronic benefit (EBT) systems by 2020. EBT systems streamline vendor participation and management, provide a new program oversight tool, and improve the WIC client experience.
“This bill advances WIC’s 40 years of nutrition success for America’s vulnerable mothers and young children,” said Janet Jackson Charles, Chair, National WIC Association Board of Directors.
"While there is still more to be done, there are meaningful wins for mothers and children in this bill that should help close the nutrition gap for WIC families so that young children arrive at school ready to learn,” said the Rev. Douglas A. Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association. “We are pleased to support this bipartisan effort and urge the Committee and the Senate to move the bill with all deliberate speed.”
The WIC program is a federally-funded public health nutrition program that provides nutrition education, healthy foods, breastfeeding education and support, and referrals to health care and social services to low and moderate income pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, infants, and children who have or are at risk for developing nutrition-related illnesses. Numerous studies have shown that WIC is effective and helps improve diet quality and consumption of key nutrients, reduce premature and low birth-weight babies, and increase access to regular health care.
The National WIC Association, NWA, is the non-profit education arm and voice of the 8 million mothers and young children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – known as WIC – and the nation’s 12,200 dedicated WIC service provider agencies.