CWA Flash E-Newsletter - February 20, 2019
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    Tax Season  
WIC agencies can play a critical role in informing participants about their eligibility for various tax credits. The California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is still going strong and, as always, the federal EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are programs that lifted an estimated 6.5 million people out of poverty. Remember, these tax credits have NO effect on eligibility for public benefits, and families may be eligible for tax credits and free help filing their taxes, even if they did not earn enough in 2018 to owe income tax! WIC Can Help families find assistance filing their taxes so that they can take advantage of these credits! 
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Compassion Fatigue   
Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, personal wellness falls to the wayside. Remember to check in with yourself and
colleagues/coworkers, take breaks, take walks, and talk with your peers. If you are looking for resources or need to take a self-test to assess your stress levels or professional quality of life, check out the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.
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Shutdown Lifted, WIC Persists
While there is relief that the longest government shutdown ended, new controversies were created with the President's announcement of a national emergency and his intention to secure funding through other channels for a border wall. For state WIC programs and local agencies, many working intensively to implement EBT and also new MIS systems, in addition to implementing new strategies addressing declining participation, this was a huge additional and unnecessary challenge. WIC services remained open, but any shutdown creates great confusion about the status of WIC services. This is in addition to threats to immigrants that have also impacted WIC participation. Shout out to WIC agencies that welcomed federal employees impacted by the shutdown, who missed paychecks and needed food for their families.
USDA Work Requirement Proposal for SNAP
Despite President Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill into law, and Congress' bipartisan agreement to leave existing rules unchanged, USDA has proposed a rule that would impose harsh time limits on many more SNAP/CalFresh participants. The proposed rule would eliminate the flexibility states have always had to waive time limits on SNAP in areas with insufficient jobs for low-income workers. USDA estimates that under the proposed rule, 755,000 SNAP participants would be newly subject to the time limit, meaning if a childless adult (aged 18 to 49) can't find and maintain employment (at least 20 hours/week), they will only be eligible for three months of SNAP benefits over three years. This proposal is an unwise expansion of a harsh, unfair, and counterproductive policy. Ripping holes in the national safety net will do nothing to address the root causes of unemployment; rather, it will drive many of the most vulnerable among us deeper into food insecurity and poverty. ACTION: Submit a comment in opposition to the rule by April 2, 2019. Download customizable template comments here. Read more here. 
Report on Impact of Government Shutdown
The Congressional Budget Office has published a report titled "The Effects of the Partial Shutdown Ending in January 2019." The report estimates the effects of the five-week partial shutdown of the government that started on December 22, 2018, and ended on January 25, 2019. The report includes background information, effects on the federal budget, macroeconomic effects, and other possible effects of the government shutdown. CBO notes that among those who experienced the largest and most direct negative effects are federal workers who faced delayed compensation and private-sector entities that lost business. Some of those private-sector entities will never recoup that lost income. 
Census: Risk for Central Valley
The White House administration's proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census would negatively impact California representation and billions in program funding. Citizenship has not been asked on the census since 1950. The Supreme Court recently agreed to take up the issue after a lower court blocked the move, with hearings expected in April. The Central Valley would be deeply impacted with estimates of 10% of Latinos not being represented, as many would not answer the question out of fear or anger with the question. A report by the San Joaquin Valley Census Research Project details the impressions of residents and implications for services and programs. Other concerns with the census include the adequacy of census workers in neighborhoods to assist with the census, as compared to on-line census taking. ACTION: Read these news stories, and plan to attend the census workshop at CWA spring conference.
CWA News
Partnering With Head Start
WIC agencies routinely communicate with local child care and early education programs to share information, promote referrals and maximize participation. In 1994 and updated in 2017, a memorandum of understanding between USDA, Food and Nutrition Services, WIC, and the Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care Administration, Administration for Children and Families, Dept. of Health and Human Services, was released with information on establishing collaborations. Since that time, in several states, there has been renewed work to build more collaborative arrangements and identify challenges when different federal departments work in new ways. CWA is pleased to share Strengthening Linkages Between California's WIC and Child Care Services providing background, examples and recommendations for improved WIC and Head Start linkages for California. ACTION: Check out the brief and you can learn about Oklahoma's efforts to link WIC and Head Start during the Sunday pre-conference at the CWA spring conference. 
Surf's Up! CWA Conference Updates
We look forward to seeing many of you in just over 2 months. The conference intentionally provides many ways to learn how to improve WIC services and impact participation. The robust agenda is posted and the popular trade show will provide lots of learning opportunities. If your staff is developing in new ways to improve WIC services and engage participants you need to share that at the conference! Sign up for Local Agency Sharing, a simple way to share information with other agencies. And new this year, sign up for Trade Show talks, a 15 minute opportunity to share your work. We are a large state, and need these opportunities to share with each other especially with the participation challenges. Don't pass up these opportunities! 
Leadership 2019 Announced
Congratulations to the 2018 Leadership Academy participants on their recent completion of trainings and retreats. Their agency and community can be proud of their effort to gain valuable new skills and insights for use as public health leaders. Welcome to the 2019 Leadership Academy! They will come together at the spring conference and kick off their learning experience.
Our Top News Picks
Preventing Postpartum Depression
Perinatal mood disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth. As many as one in seven women experience depression during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. Now, a national panel of health experts says there is a way to prevent it. The panel evaluated research on numerous possible prevention methods, including physical activity, education, infant sleep advice, yoga, expressive writing, omega-3 fatty acids and antidepressants. Several showed some promise, including physical activity and programs in Britain and the Netherlands involving home visits by midwives or other providers. But only counseling demonstrated enough scientific evidence of benefit. The report called for health providers to seek out women with certain risk factors and guide them to the types of counseling programs that can be effective in preventing depression. The recommendation, by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, means that insurers will be required to by the ACA to cover those services - with no co-payments. 
Could Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Prevent Miscarriages? 
Compounds found in fish oil prevent pregnancy complications, including preterm birth, neonatal death, and stillbirth, in mice when the complications are caused by a common oral bacteria, according to research published today in the journal JCI Insight. The Columbia University study suggests a new strategy for protecting pregnancy in women. Approximately one in 10 U.S. infants are born before term. Between 10 and 30 percent of preterm births have been attributed to uterine infections with a type of bacteria commonly found in the mouth, F. nucleatum. This research identifies a potential prophylactic treatment for pregnant women to lower the risk of adverse outcomes including stillbirth. 
California Immunization Coalition Summit
Registration is open today for the 2019 California Immunization Coalition (CIC) Summit, 'Today's Vision, Tomorrow's Reality,' which will be held April 8-9 at the Riverside Convention Center. This unique meeting is for health care providers, public health professionals, and community health advocates who are committed to preventing infectious disease and to promoting immunizations across the lifespan. Attendees include pharmacists, school health professionals, general practice and specialty providers, health project managers, students, epidemiologists, and community outreach workers. For more information about CIC, visit their website, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 
California Strong Start Index
First 5 Association of California and Children's Data Network (CDN) have launched a new tool to help service providers, policymakers, and government agencies more effectively support children and families and direct resources where they are needed most. The California Strong Start Index, funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, uses information collected at birth to understand the conditions under which California's babies are born in any given neighborhood, county, or region. The index focuses on resources that promote resilience and shows wide variability in access to these resources among the half a million babies born in California each year. Using the Strong Start Index, state and local policymakers can improve how services and supports for children and families are allocated in California -- and ensure children are supported from a younger age. 
California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760