CWA partners with breastfeeding advocates all over the state to draw attention to the stark health inequities caused by inadequate breastfeeding support policies in many California hospitals. We seek policy reforms through local organizing, administrative and legislative advocacy.Learn More
WIC and Early Literacy: A Great FitLaurie True - June 12, 2014 Are you counseling more WIC moms who seem to have their noses glued to their smartphones? This habit may be more than irritating. The parental disengagement you observe may actually be putting children’s future achievement at risk. New research shows how early stimulation is critically important to brain development from birth to three years of age.
One way to measure the achievement gap is by simply counting the number of words young children are exposed to. Children who simply hear more words (like 30 million more in the first three years of life!) were more ready for kindergarten and were stronger readers and got higher test scores in third grade. The kids who started out behind, stayed behind.
WIC providers are perfectly positioned to help prevent this tragic achievement gap during the brief but critical time WIC families are with us for nutrition services. All we have to do is show moms and dads how to feed their children’s brains—as well as their tummies—from the very beginning! And it’s not just about reading books, it’s about having fun talking, playing and singing, which builds brains and forges important bonds.
This week, we invited two amazing early literacy pioneers, our own WIC expert Dr. Shannon Whaley of PHFE WIC and Susan True (yes, she’s related!) of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, to a WIC WORKS Webinar to share some fabulous new early literacy resources and an amazing WIC-based intervention called Little By Little. Hillary Clinton is ramping up this work nationwide through her Too Small to Fail initiative.
What steps can you take in your WIC setting to get the word out about Talk, Read, Sing? Any WIC provider can easily access early literacy promotional materials and PSAs online. We invite you to check out the Webinar slides and other materials, and urge you to contact your county’s First Five Commission to partner with them on the Campaign.
When Will the Moratorium Be Lifted?Laurie True - May 16, 2014
A recent front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle highlights the hassles for some stores and WIC shoppers caused by a long-running moratorium on new vendor applications in the California WIC Program. Since the moratorium was imposed, a number of full-service grocery stores have opened in low-income neighborhoods across the state, but haven’t been able to apply for WIC authorization because of the federally-imposed freeze.
It is important to note that WIC shoppers in these locales are not left completely without grocery options. There are still thousands of stores, including chains and WIC-only outlets, in the current system. (On the California WIC Program website, click on List of Authorized Vendors under Program Information.) Furthermore, in cases where food access hardship is a genuine problem, exceptions to the moratorium have always been required.
Thankfully, these stores – and their loyal WIC customers – will soon get relief. The California WIC Program has been working hard to fix a spiraling food cost problem caused when substantial numbers of small grocers began grossly overcharging for WIC foods, which was the reason for the moratorium. It has taken awhile, but the state has just about finished a total overhaul of its WIC vendor approval and reimbursement system. They have also beefed up their capacity to monitor stores. Details on the reforms can be found here.
The moratorium will be lifted when federal administrators (USDA) are satisfied that California WIC can properly monitor the total number of approved vendors in its system and carefully manage the prices they charge for WIC foods. The new system will be launched on June 2, and State officials hope to begin rolling back the moratorium by mid-summer 2014.
With a stronger vendor authorization and food cost monitoring system finally in place, we look forward to working with new grocery store partners to better serve WIC families, who deserve to shop with dignity in stores that offer fresh, healthy and competitively-priced WIC foods.