National WIC Association: "Modernizing the program will unlock healthier outcomes for the next generation, but new investments in WIC's technology and people power must be matched with action to update rules that stand in the way of program access."
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $53 million in new grants to modernize WIC outreach and service delivery. These funds are available through the American Rescue Plan Act, which included a historic investment of $390 million in WIC innovation.
Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:
"Frontline WIC staff have demonstrated extraordinary initiative in adapting program services during COVID-19, expanding the reach of WIC's life-saving nutrition support to improve health outcomes for more young children. These powerful investments build on partnerships critical to the success of WIC outreach and service delivery, ensuring that WIC providers have up-to-date technology and community infrastructure to reach, connect with and support eligible families. By listening to the experience of WIC providers, USDA is taking steps to align the WIC participant experience with industry practices, mirroring the patient experience in healthcare settings.
"This moment is an inflection point for WIC services. At the White House Conference last month, Secretary Vilsack and others highlighted WIC's role in promoting nutrition security and setting the stage for future life success. Modernizing the program will unlock healthier outcomes for the next generation, but new investments in WIC's technology and people power must be matched with action to update rules that stand in the way of program access.
"In the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress recognized the potential of investing in WIC to support the health and well-being of families with young children. Congress must now once again act to strengthen WIC's public health impact by advancing a comprehensive reauthorization that supports a modern and accessible WIC experience, complementing USDA's efforts to simplify the application process, strengthen remote nutrition and breastfeeding services and advance shopping innovations in both retail and farmers market settings. We look forward to working with our partners in Congress, the administration and across the country to advance the important work of modernizing the WIC experience to support a healthy start for all children."
The National WIC Association (NWA) is the non-profit membership organization for State and local providers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). NWA is the go-to voice of and for WIC staff at more than 12,000 WIC locations across the country who work to support more than 6.2 million mothers and young children. For over three decades, NWA has worked to build broad, bipartisan consensus for WIC’s programmatic goals and public health mission. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drive innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children, and their families. Learn more at www.nwica.org.