2023: building MOMENTUM FOR a modern wic
As WIC emerges from a year of overlapping crises, WIC providers have been consistently innovating to reach more eligible families and lean in to a more modern service delivery model. Effective measures adopted in recent years – including the fruit and vegetable bump and remote WIC services – are positioned to become longer-term tools that can be leveraged to present WIC as a modern and accessible program that delivers targeted and impactful nutrition support at critical times of growth and development. Reframing WIC and harnessing the progress of State and local innovations will require the collective voice of WIC providers, stakeholders, and advocates to build momentum for a modern WIC. In 2023, WIC reforms can be accomplished through:
- Appropriations: The annual process to fund federal programs, including WIC. WIC will need to secure increased investment to account for the challenges of the past year, including food inflation, increased participation, and the infant formula shortages. Funding will also be needed to improve Management Information Systems to ensure timely and swift implementation of updated WIC food packages.
- Authorizing Legislation: Congress failed to advance a Child Nutrition Reauthorization in the prior Congress, passing a narrower deal to improve summer feeding for school-age children. As the Agriculture Committees pivot toward the 2023 Farm Bill, there are new opportunities to improve linkages between SNAP and WIC, particularly in the retail space. Despite the focus on the Farm Bill, urgently needed WIC reforms should still be considered by legislators in the coming year.
- USDA Rulemaking: USDA proposed science-based updates to the WIC food packages in November 2022, including steps to make the fruit and vegetable bump permanent. More recently, USDA also proposed updates to WIC vendor regulations. By engaging in these comment periods, WIC providers can have direct impact in shaping federal rules and setting the stage for a modern and more robust WIC program.
take action to strengthen wic
With potential reforms on the table, now is the time to engage with the National WIC Association and help usher in the next generation of WIC services. In 2021, the National WIC Association convened the WIC Action Network to keep grassroots supporters informed and strengthen public education efforts about WIC services during COVID-19. Connect with the WIC Action Network to hear about the current policy landscape and plug in with opportunities to raise your own WIC voice. Learn more about current WIC priorities with the following resources:
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