CWA Flash E-Newsletter - May 7, 2020
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Oral Health    
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents/caretakers should be encouraged to establish a dental home for infants by 12 months of age. WIC Can Help promotes oral health for families by referring them to low-cost or free services and Smile CA, directs families to information from CA Dept of Health Care Services and Dept. of Public Health, related to care during the pandemic. 
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Keeping Active at Home  
Schools are closed. Gyms are closed. Sports are canceled. But the physical activity guidelines remain the same - 1 hour for school-aged children and at least 30 minutes per day for adults. Making a sidewalk chalk obstacle course outside is a good way for kids and adults to have some fun and get some energy out - make a circuit, and challenge yourself to see how many times you can go around!  
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Continued Flexibilities Needed for WIC 
Congress and USDA have opportunities to continue flexibilities for state programs and local agencies in their herculean efforts to safely enroll participants and provide WIC benefits, and be prepared as the economic downturn unfolds. This week the WIC Benefit Flexibility During COVID-19 Act was introduced by Reps. Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Ron Wright (R-TX) which would create, through Sept. 30, 2020, an increase in the Cash Value Benefit (CVB) for fruit and vegetable purchases to $35. Growers welcomed the news as their markets for fresh produce are reduced due to restaurant and business closures and reductions. At a time when families are out of work are trying to make rent and pay bills, a supplement for healthy foods provides some relief. USDA issued a number of waivers in March and April, allowing state programs needed flexibilities. With waivers set to expire May 31, state WIC programs are asking for extensions through Sept. 30, 2020. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) spearheaded a letter to USDA with over seventy members' support, calling for an extension of all waivers through Sept. 30, 2020. Keeping the waivers and flexibilities in place allows local agencies to maintain operations that have been successful in enrolling participants and provides some continuity for the uncertainties in the coming months. Big shout out to NWA for their steady focus in DC, quickly adapting to virtual advocacy, and navigating a changing landscape. Their efforts have contributed to positive outcomes for WIC families! 
Pandemic SNAP Benefits P-EBT for Kids
Kids whose schools are closed and would normally be getting free or reduced-price school meals will get a boost this month when the Dept. of Social Services begins issuing debit cards with food benefits up to $365 per eligible child, to assist their families in purchasing groceries in local grocery stores, farmers' markets and some online grocery stores. No application is necessary for children already receiving CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Benefits, and an online application will open this month for kids who do not receive their card in the mail. Info is also on the CWA COVID-19 webpage. 
More SNAP News! Online Ordering & Delivery
Shoppers using CalFresh (SNAP) benefits through Amazon or WalMart can now order online for store pick up or delivery. COVID-19 resulted in CA moving more quickly to adopt the option which was recently just in the pilot phase in other states. Delivery fees are not always covered and details are on the CDSS website. This shopping option further reduces barriers to food access, especially during this exceptional time. CA Food Policy Advocates and CWA released a press release pointing out the benefits for WIC participants were this also available and urging for an expansion for young families. 
Proposed Expansion to SNAP Restaurant Meals Program
A bill introduced in Congress last week by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) would expand the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), which allows seniors, disabled and homeless people to use their SNAP benefits to purchase discounted restaurant meals, to include all SNAP participants during a public health crisis or natural disaster. The RMP is voluntary for states, only about three use the program, including California, Arizona and Rhode Island. The low participation rate, in part, reflects the public health concern that fast-food chains would mostly sign up for the program, affecting the well-being of the people who receive benefits. Senator Murphy and Rep. Panetta see the bill as a way to give more people access to more food options at a time when grocery stores are impacted, and a way to bring revenue into struggling restaurants.
CWA News
Annual Conference & Trade Show Goes Virtual!
We know you are wondering about plans for CWA's popular conference and trade show. We are pleased to announce the event will be virtual, including plenary and workshop sessions, the trade show, meeting your friends from across the state and nation, engaging with speakers, getting exercise and participating in fun activities. More details will be available in the next week, including dates, which will be a bit later in the summer, allowing time for you to plan to attend from the comfort of your clinic or home! 
Census Extended & CA WIC Pitches In!
Due to the pandemic the self-response period for online, phone and mailed censuses has been extended, so enumerators will begin contacting people who haven't completed it beginning in August. Shout out to WIC agency staff who, during calls for WIC services, are also talking with WIC participants about completing the census. CWA provides census resources, including materials specific to talking with WIC participants about census completion. Wondering how the census self-response is going where you live? Check the map and see the comparison to the 2010 census.
COVID-19 Resources
WIC staff are getting accustomed to new arrangements working remotely from home and socially distanced in their clinics. As a small way to recognize their adjustments, home and office workspace signs, and 'thank you WIC' window signs, are available in the CWA COVID-19 Resources. Resources are updated regularly and include teleworking, breastfeeding, immigration, federal exemptions, homeschooling and more. 
WIC Works Webinars
This spring and summer, CWA will feature a variety of webinars, the first focusing on access to fresh produce. The importance of staying healthy and the risks of underlying health conditions, are of renewed importance as we address the pandemic and play a big role in fighting and preventing chronic disease. We are fortunate in California to have access to an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, but that is not the case for everyone. A growing number of programs are boosting SNAP shoppers' ability to purchase fruits and vegetables and other programs are recognizing food as medicine. Join us on May 27, to learn about the national Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program including innovative partnerships such as the ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Program in grocery stores, the Market Match Program at Farmers' Markets and the ALL IN Alameda County: Food as Medicine Initiative, to ensure more families have regular access to the bounty of fruits and vegetables. Register Here. You can also learn how San Francisco WIC partnered with UCSF to implement EatSF, a local fruit and vegetable voucher program available at all WIC clinics in SF, to improve not only food security and dietary intake of fruit and vegetable among low-income pregnant women, but health outcomes. Register here. CWA webinars provide continuing education credits for RDs and IBCLCs. You must register individually.
Our Top News Picks
Fruit & Veggie SNAP Benefits Partnership
The University of California San Diego Center for Community Health and Northgate Gonzalez Market invite you to learn about their ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Nutrition Incentive Program. This program allows CalFresh recipients to earn one dollar for every CalFresh benefit dollar spent on fresh fruits and vegetables (up to $40 a month for a year) when they shop at participating Northgate Gonzalez Markets. The dollars earned can then be used to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables for better health. Please visit for more information.
Child Abuse Reporting Down, Injuries Up
Across the country, California included, child abuse reports have fallen dramatically since COVID-19 stay home orders started. The cases being reported often involve children so severely injured they end up in the emergency room and intensive care unit. In some hospitals, they are dying at an unusually high rate. Most referrals to child protective services come from police officers, lawyers, doctors, anyone who comes in contact with a child as part of their job; educators were responsible for 21 percent of the 4.3 million referrals made in 2018. In 2018, nearly 80 percent of perpetrators were parents of the victim. With the country locked down, the only people seeing children are the very people most likely to abuse them. Many reports are now coming from children themselves - in March half of the visitors to the National Sexual Assault Hotline were minors. Unlike child protective services and law enforcement, which often rely on mandatory reporters, the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline has seen an uptick in calls: 31 percent more calls and messages this March than in the same month last year, many coming from children through the chat option. Complicating matters, the National Children's Alliance estimates a $87.7 million funding loss to the child advocacy field as a result of the pandemic forcing some advocacy centers to close when abused children will need them the most. 
ACEs Linked to Cardiovascular Disease in Adults
Children who experience trauma, abuse, neglect and family dysfunction are at increased risk of having heart disease in their 50s and 60s, according to a new study. Results showed people exposed to the highest levels of childhood family environment adversity were more than 50 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular disease event over a 30-year follow-up. Children who experience this type of adversity are predisposed to higher rates of lifelong stress, smoking, anxiety, depression and sedentary lifestyle, often leading to increased body mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, vascular dysfunction and inflammation. The question most predictive of cardiovascular disease later in life was "Did your family know what you were up to as a kid?" Adults with these risk factors may benefit from counseling on the link between coping with stress and controlling smoking and obesity.
Nearly 40% of U.S. Experiencing Food Insecurity During Pandemic 
According to a report last week , a survey conducted in the last week of March, of more than 10,000 people across the US, found nearly 4 in 10 had too little to eat or difficulty obtaining healthy foods, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Southern states have been especially hard hit, with nearly half in some states experiencing food insecurity. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported moderate to high levels of food insecurity. The greatest need was in Alabama at 48%, followed by Arkansas (47%), Tennessee (45%) and Kentucky (44%). The lowest need was in Iowa, with 1 in 4 reporting food insecurity. For more on food insecurity, see Feeding America.
Collected Evidence on COVID-19 and Lactation
The International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) has developed a page, generated by a Working Group of ISRHML members, is to collate and summarize the rapidly evolving scientific evidence and clinical resources regarding the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), human milk and lactation. It is not intended to replace public health authority recommendations. Information on the COVID-19 pandemic is changing quickly. This document will be updated regularly to reflect new developments. 
Black Breastfeeding Week is Coming Up! 
Black Breastfeeding Week is coming up in just a few months, Aug. 21-25, and this year's theme is Revive, Restore, Reclaim. The voices of black families have been traditionally overlooked in innovation spaces and that's why we need YOU to bring your fire, passion, and brilliant ideas to revolutionize Black breastfeeding in the United States. Want more information? Check out the top five reasons we need a Black Breastfeeding Week. Now's the time to plan your #BBW20 festivities!
Report on Public Health Funding Trends  
Trust for America's Health's report "The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America's Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2020" examines federal, state, and local public health funding trends and recommends investments and policies to build a stronger public health system, prioritize prevention, and effectively address twenty-first-century health risks. 
California WIC Association
3960 Industrial Blvd., Suite 500 West Sacramento, CA 95691

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