WIC Advocacy Must Continue as Congress Continues to Work on Funding the Government

On January 18th, 2024 the Senate and House passed the third continuing resolution (CR) for FY 2024 to seamlessly fund government programs through March 1 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) funding — and March 8. This CR was necessary while a final FY 2024 funding package is being hammered out.

Despite efforts to avert a shutdown, there is still no agreement on achieving full funding needed for WIC. Advocates continue to press for an additional $1 billion to fully fund WIC for FY 2024 to avoid 2 million parents and young children being turned away from WIC by September.

House Democrats on the Education and Workforce Committee led by Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a new report this week detailing the potential harm if Congress does not fully fund WIC.

WIC Advocacy Continues Under a New CR

Leading up to a new deadline of March 1, advocates must continue to strongly urge Members of Congress to fully fund WICAdvocacy includes:

The WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Program

Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the WIC Community Innovation and Outreach (CIAO) Program aims to expand partnerships with community organizations and use of community-level data to develop and test WIC outreach efforts.

Learn more about the program’s structure and goals here.

WIC During COVID-19: Participation and Benefit Redemption Since the Onset of the Pandemic

More families with young children are taking part in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), according to FRAC’s latest report, WIC During COVID-19: Participation and Benefit Redemption Since the Onset of the Pandemic.

Pandemic-related WIC waivers and enhancements have simultaneously removed access barriers and increased the value of participating in WIC, resulting in overall increases in program participation. In February 2022, WIC reached 6.2 million participants, a 1.2 percent increase from February 2020.

Read the report

Share Infant Formula Shortage Resources

The infant formula shortage has magnified racial and economic disparities and left many families, especially families with limited income, feeling concerned about how they’ll feed their babies.

Learn about actions stakeholders can take to help families with young children navigate this challenge in FRAC’s brief, Advocates Take Action as Infant Formula Shortages Magnify Disparities.

Connecting parents to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a key activity to support family food budgets and help them pay for infant formula during this time. View FRAC’s new WIC primer video and WIC referral guide for more information on how to connect families to WIC.

Download the Fact Sheet

WIC In Natural Disasters

When natural disasters strike, WIC can employ special “alternative procedures” to help WIC clients and those newly eligible receive timely access to WIC benefits and services. Learn more in FRAC’s fact sheet.

Read the fact sheet

WIC Guide for Health Care Providers

Poor nutrition, poverty, and food insecurity have detrimental impacts on infant, child, and maternal health and well-being. Connecting patients to WIC is an evidence-based strategy to address these issues. Only about one-quarter of eligible 4-year-old children participate in the program. As a health care provider, you are a trusted messenger, so your referral and education regarding WIC can help eligible families, especially those with children between 1 and 5 years old, receive the program’s critical nutritional resources. This resource provides information about WIC and the importance of referring eligible people to this critical Child Nutrition Program.

Explore the Guide

Food Research & Action Center’s WIC Program Brief: One Year of WIC During COVID-19: Waivers are Vital to Participation and Benefit Redemption

WIC is an important resource during COVID-19. WIC improves participants’ health, dietary intake, and birth and health outcomes. WIC also supports learning and development, reduces food insecurity, and helps to alleviate poverty. In addition, WIC supports economic stability and improves the availability of healthy foods in low-income communities through participating stores. This brief details the change in WIC participation and food costs during the first full year of COVID-19 (March 2020 through February 2021).

Read the brief

New Report Enhancing Young Children’s Access to Local Foods and Farm to ECE: Federal Funding Opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts across food and early care and education (ECE) systems that has exacerbated inequities and racial injustices in food, health, and education. While severely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis, the ECE sector and food and agriculture systems are ripe with opportunity to build back with greater equity and resiliency. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) can be a component of building back better.

Read the Report

Making WIC Work Better: Strategies to Reach More Women and Children and Strengthen Benefits Use

Check out the report for more information on how to break down barriers to participation, identify strategies for your state, community or program, and to make the case for WIC.

Read more

New Fact Sheet WIC for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandparents are the primary caregiver for 6 percent of children under 6 years old. According to USDA, over 5 percent of WIC-eligible infants and children live in families without parents; 3.6 percent live with a related nonparent caretaker, and 1.7 percent live with an unrelated nonparent caretaker. The recommendations in the FRAC Fact Sheet focus on specialized outreach, policies, and services that can be used to help overcome barriers and maximize participation.

Explore the Fact Sheet

New State Fact Sheets on Infant and Toddler Health from FRAC and the Think Babies™ Campaign

Are infants and toddlers in your state getting the nutrition they need for a healthy start in life? Find out with a new set of fact sheets released by the Food Research & Action Center and the Think Babies™ campaign.

Find out more

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — known as WIC — provides low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children with nutritious foods, nutrition education, and improved access to health care in order to prevent nutrition-related health problems in pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood.

Quick Facts: 2021 WIC Participation

  • Approximately 6.2 million infants, children, pregnant, and postpartum individuals relied on the WIC program each month.
  • Each month, WIC provided nutritious food to approximately: 3.4 million children, 1.5 million infants, and 1.4 million pregnant or postpartum individuals.
  • WIC was created in 1974 in response to the realization that inadequate nutrition poses real dangers to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children.