National WIC Association Joins the Alliance, Bringing Valuable Insight into Mother-Child Nutrition

April 28, 2021

The National WIC Association (NWA) is the non-profit voice of the 12,000 public health nutrition service provider agencies and the over 6.3 million mothers, babies, and young children served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). NWA provides education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drives innovation and advocacy to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier families.

Since 1974, WIC has provided healthy food, quality nutrition services, breastfeeding support, health screenings, and healthcare and social services referrals for millions of expectant and new parents, babies, and young children. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), WIC’s targeted, time-limited services are demonstrated to improve birth outcomes and support positive child growth and development, helping to grow a healthier next generation. WIC provides five core services to improve health and nutrition outcomes for participating families: (1) access to healthy food, (2) nutrition education, (3) breastfeeding support, (4) health screenings, and (5) referrals to healthcare and social services.

NWA’s mission is to provide its members with tools and leadership to expand and sustain effective nutrition services for mothers and young children.

At NWA, we:

  • Strive for health equity. This requires equitable access to nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, chronic disease prevention and management services, safe living environments, and good jobs with fair pay. It necessitates removing obstacles to families’ short- and long-term health and well-being including poverty, discrimination, and institutional racism and other forms of bias expressed through, housing, healthcare, education, labor, and other public policies.
  • Advocate for WIC and educate policy makers to help them understand maternal/child nutrition and health needs, and advocate for a stronger, more robust WIC program. We engage with Congress and USDA, communicating our policy priorities and stays abreast of changes in policies that impact WIC and share them with our members.
  • Drive innovation and connect our members to the latest news, information, tools and resources, equipping them to develop innovative, creative implementation strategies and assure top drawer WIC services for mothers and young children.
  • Empower WIC leaders. We engage state and local programs and WIC leaders to one another, WIC stakeholders, and to policy makers to ensure their unique perspectives are essential components of policy discussions.
  • Grow WIC leaders. We provide ongoing training and education opportunities through:
    • Regular webinars on timely topics.
    • Three yearly conferences on topics ranging from leadership to technology, nutrition to management, and other valuable subjects.
    • Our Leadership Academy – an online certificate program that provides training for WIC staff to become successful WIC voices and leaders.

WIC is an effective program that delivers healthier outcomes, but the program could have a broader reach if all eligible individuals were connected with services. This year is an inflection point that could significantly enhance the WIC experience. NWA has endorsed and championed the WIC Act as a top legislative priority. This bipartisan legislation identifies three common-sense steps to ensure more nutritionally at-risk, low-income individuals can be connected with WIC services by extending child and postpartum eligibility and removing burdensome paperwork requirements that keep infants from remaining on the program. WIC is also a core focus of the pending Child Nutrition Reauthorization, which could integrate telehealth services into the WIC model and advance online shopping solutions to provide a more modern, accessible, and equitable experience for WIC families. It is also time for USDA to review the healthy foods provided by WIC, offering a chance to permanently increase the value of the WIC benefit to expand access to nutritious foods. You can learn more about NWA’s policy priorities in the State of WIC report.

NWA looks forward to what 2021 will bring for the WIC program and participants across the country. For more information about NWA, visit www.nwica.org. We thank the Alliance to End Hunger for the opportunity to share our work with this community.