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Child Nutrition Reauthorization

WIC program reforms are considered through a process known as Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Legislators group WIC with the school meals programs, summer feeding programs, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for consideration of a broader legislative vehicle. Child Nutrition Reauthorization is within the jurisdiction of the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization is not a guaranteed process. The last reauthorization occurred in 2010 with passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act – which required that State WIC Agencies transition to e-WIC. WIC services have adapted in new and unexpected ways, and long-delayed reforms are exacerbating challenges in reaching all eligible individuals. WIC providers are acutely aware of the adverse effects on participation and program perceptions should COVID-related waivers, authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, expire before permanent reforms are adopted. NWA urges Congress to advance a Child Nutrition Reauthorization in 2022 to assure that WIC providers can integrate lessons learned during the pandemic to build a new model of services to meet the next generation of WIC families. The National WIC Association recommends that a Child Nutrition Reauthorization process consider the following priority areas when evaluating WIC program reforms:

  • Address gaps in nutrition assistance. WIC’s strong record of improved health outcomes could be more effectively leveraged to set children up for future life success. Congress should evaluate opportunities to expand and streamline eligibility – especially for postpartum women and 5-year-old children – to address the nation’s most pressing public health challenges.
  • Streamline access to WIC services. After nearly two years of remote options, WIC providers have adapted services to meet the next generation of WIC parents – recording record increases in child participation. The federal statute – especially provisions related to certification appointments – must be revised to reflect this change in service delivery, sustaining remote options in the long-term while preserving WIC’s public health character.
  • Strengthen WIC’s nutrition services. WIC providers have gone above and beyond to operate during COVID-19, but State Agencies still have limited resources to invest in WIC’s nutrition and breastfeeding services. Congress must pay more attention to the increasing challenge of growing and retaining a diverse credentialed workforce by incorporating promising solutions into CNR that target new investment and promote cross-program collaboration with Medicaid.
  • Modernize benefit redemption. After SNAP scaled up online purchasing nationwide, WIC families were left with inequitable shopping options. Additional investment is needed to build online shopping platforms at retailers both large and small, and additional statutory flexibility is needed to empower innovations in both retail and farmers market settings.

Resources


Fact Sheet
Child Nutrition Reauthorization Priorities
The Child Nutrition Reauthorization process is the prime opportunity to enact WIC reforms to improve service delivery and leverage WIC’s…
Report
The State of WIC: Investing in the Next Generation
The second State of WIC report – supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation – highlights the experience of WIC providers…
Fact Sheet
Support the WIC Act
The Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act), sponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and…

Fact Sheet
Extending WIC's Postpartum Care: Setting the Stage for Healthier Outcomes
The Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act) includes a provision that would extend postpartum eligibility for WIC to…
Fact Sheet
WIC to 6: Addressing Nutrition Gaps
The Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act) includes a provision that would extend child eligibility for WIC to…
Fact Sheet
Maximizing Efficiency: Streamlining WIC Services to Reach More Children
The Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act) includes a provision that would extend infant certification periods to two…

Fact Sheet
Support the MODERN WIC Act
The More Options to Develop and Enhance Remote Nutrition in WIC Act (MODERN WIC Act), sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand…
Data
Striking the Balance: Unlocking Remote WIC Services After COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rapidly innovated to provide remote…
Report
Multi-state WIC Participant Satisfaction Survey: Learning from Program Adaptations During COVID
A report released by the National WIC Association (NWA), alongside researchers from the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) and Pepperdine University,…

Fact Sheet
Support the WIC for Kids Act
The WIC for Kids Act, sponsored by Reps. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) and Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR), would extend child certification…
Fact Sheet
Support the WIC Healthy Beginnings Act
The WIC Healthy Beginnings Act, sponsored by Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would require USDA to establish…