Today, the House Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services held a hearing on child nutrition to inform legislative activity intended to enhance access to healthy foods for infants and children through Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Child nutrition programs – including WIC – have not been fully reauthorized since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:
"Today's House Education and Labor Committee hearing is an essential step towards passing Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year. During the hearing, the Subcommittee heard from a panel of experts highlighting WIC's crucial role in improving the health of mothers, babies, and young children.
"Virginia WIC Director and NWA Board Member Paula Garrett made a clear case for reform and modernization of WIC that 'would assure WIC meets the realities of families' and addresses racial disparities in maternal health. Ms. Garrett's call for stronger partnerships with healthcare, technological innovation, expansion of adjunctive eligibility, among other positive reforms, would streamline services, ease access, and connect eligible families with WIC services. Jessica Burris, a North Carolina WIC participant, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, provided a firsthand account of how impactful WIC was in supporting her family's health, noting the importance of WIC's nutrition benefit, breastfeeding support, and public health services and screenings.
"NWA is grateful to Ms. Garrett and Ms. Burris for speaking up and out on behalf of the millions of mothers and young children who benefit from WIC's quality nutrition services.
"We applaud Chair Bonamici and Ranking Member Fulcher for their focus on putting forth effective changes so the WIC program can continue to deliver nutrition support to families with young children. We look forward to working with them and other members of the Committee to advancing meaningful reforms that will enhance access to WIC's effective, transformative nutrition support."