CWA Flash E-Newsletter - February 5, 2019
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      Unemployment Assistance, Debt Counseling, and Financial Literacy 
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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WIC Survives Shutdown & Supports Federal Workers
For families depending on WIC benefits, the partial government shutdown, which included USDA, was very concerning. Fortunately, with funding reallocations by USDA, an extension of a few weeks was possible to keep local agencies open, and WIC benefits were a welcome relief for furloughed federal employees who missed two paychecks. As the complexities and fallout of the shutdown unfolded, state programs and local agencies, promoted WIC, alerted media that WIC was open for business, and worked with local grocers to ensure food access was not interrupted. As expected, confusion and misinformation about the availability of WIC services necessitated media outreach, like this story from Los Angeles that included Kiran Saluja, PHFE WIC.  Douglas Greenaway, from National WIC Association, was interviewed on MSNBC, and featured in this USA Today article "Government shutdown 2019: State, local officials feel the pinch. 'We are at ground zero.'" With many states, including CA, implementing the federally required new EBT cards, and some states, including CA, also updating their MIS systems, by Oct. 2020, any interruption in work creates great complexities and concern. Threat of future shutdowns remain for state programs and local agencies, as temporary funding runs out on February 15th. 
USDA Proposal Undermines SNAP's Ability to Combat Food Insecurity
On Feb. 1, USDA issued a proposed rule that would limit states' flexibility to provide nutrition assistance to certain adults, by restricting state waivers of the time limit on SNAP participation by able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). Without a state waiver, these adults are limited to only three months of SNAP benefits in a 36-month period unless they satisfy a work requirement. Last year, Congress explicitly rejected similar SNAP provisions when considering the Farm Bill. The final Farm Bill passed by large bipartisan majorities in both chambers and did not contain any structural changes to SNAP. House Democrats have already expressed concern about the proposed rule, with Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) - chair of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations - explicitly calling for an extended comment period through June 2019. Unless Rep. Fudge's request is granted, the rule is now open for only a 60-day comment period until April 2, 2019. ACTION: Comments can be submitted directly through the Federal Register. CA Food Policy Advocates will provide CA specific template comments and NWA will release template comments relevant to the WIC community. A model comment letter and other resources are available through FRAC. 
NJ Now Requires Insurers to Cover Donor Milk
Effective January 1 all health insurers in New Jersey must cover donated human breast milk for infants under certain circumstances. Insurers must cover the costs if the infant is younger than 6 months, the milk comes from a milk bank that meets the quality guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America or is licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health, and it is prescribed to the infant by a physician. Similar laws are in place in California, New York, Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Washington, D.C.  
CWA News
Hospital Breastfeeding Report Released!
Last week CWA, along with partners at UC Davis Human Lactation Center and California Breastfeeding Coalition, released Sustaining Change In Challenging Times: California Needs Innovative Breastfeeding Strategies, our 10th annual release of California hospital breastfeeding data report and fact sheets. Statewide efforts for systems change have improved the quality of maternity care in many California hospitals and substantially increased the number of Baby-Friendly hospitals throughout the state. As a result of these efforts, exclusive in-hospital breastfeeding rates have increased from 56.6% in 2010 to 69.6% in 2017. Recognizing the importance of high quality maternity policies, California legislators enacted a law (SB-402, De Leon) requiring that all maternity hospitals adopt optimal policies by 2025. Unfortunately, the most recent data show the pace of progress has slowed. Immediate action is needed to identify the sources of the slowdown and provide targeted support when and where it is needed. Early intervention may provide the boost needed to address barriers, reinvigorate staff, and to continue progress towards providing optimal care for all California mothers and babies. ACTION: Help us get the word out! Contact your local media, make a Facebook post, tweet! The report and fact sheets are available here, as well as reports and fact sheets from previous years. Contact Jodi for helpful talking points, and with your questions. 
Catch the Wave at CWA Conference! Registration is Open!
Plan now to attend the 2019 CWA Annual Conference, April 28-May 1 in San Diego. Come Catch the Wave of WIC improvements and innovations that include new technology and fresh perspectives on engaging and sustaining WIC participants at in-depth pre-conference workshops, inspiring plenary sessions, and dozens of continuing education workshops. A sampling of the workshops include: Giving Dad's a Voice, Reclaiming Breastfeeding in Indigenous Communities, Using Social Media for Outreach, Implicit Bias and What to Do About It and more. Big shout out to local agency staff on the conference planning committee! ACTION: Check out the draft agenda, and Register by March 15th  to get the early bird discount. Invite your WIC, MCAH, early childhood education, and public health colleagues to join you! 
Submit Your WIC Watch Stories NOW!
Just a few weeks left to submit your WIC Watch stories! Lots of great work is going on in the local agencies. New ways to provide services are being tested. WIC checks are being used at farmers' markets to get fruits and vegetables. Dietetic interns are being trained. WIC families are getting fantastic nutrition and breastfeeding information and support. You see incredible examples of resilience and compassion. You or your colleagues are putting it all out there to stay healthy. Let's hear from you. We need our agency's stories! We are working on the next WIC Watch magazine for publication at the spring conference. Please contact Sarah by February 22nd to send in your article or story.
Our Top News Picks
Shift Work Associated With Reduced Fetal Growth
Pregnant workers who work shifts may experience reduced fetal growth and longer pregnancies, even when the shift work is only carried out early in pregnancy, according to new research. Shift work interferes with normal patterns of sleep activity, eating times and exposure to light. Researchers found that shift work could impair glucose tolerance of mothers in early pregnancy, which means mothers had poorer control of their blood glucose levels. They demonstrated that shift work during pregnancy can disrupt maternal circadian rhythms, or the 24-hour body clock, and metabolism. These findings could inform public policy and workplace practices for shift work during pregnancy in women. The researchers now hope to identify shift work patterns that do not adversely affect the mother's metabolism or pregnancy outcomes. 
Delaying Newborn Baths Increases Breastfeeding Rates 
While it has been standard practice for decades to whisk newborns off to a bath within the first few hours of their birth, a new Cleveland Clinic study found that waiting to bath a healthy newborn 12 or more hours after birth increased the rate of breastfeeding exclusivity during the newborn hospital stay. 
Immigration Fears Deter Parents from Getting Kids Care  
As U.S. immigration enforcement becomes stricter under the Trump administration, and the proposed expansion to the "public charge" rule remains under review, more immigrant families are cutting ties with health care services and other critical government programs, according to child advocates who work with these families. A recent study from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families found that one out of every five uninsured kids in the U.S. lives in Texas. And a big percentage of those uninsured children are Latino. The report shows that after years of steady decline, the number (and percentage) of uninsured children in the U.S. increased in 2017, the first year of Trump's presidency. Nationally, 5 percent of all kids are uninsured - and in Texas the rate rose to 10.7 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2016.
New WIC News
CDPH/WIC is excited to announce that the January edition of the WIC News publication is now available. The purpose of this publication is to deliver relevant updates to all WIC local agency staff in preparation for the arrival of the California WIC Card and WIC WISE. A new 1-2 page publication will be made available each month and will feature different topics of interest. The WIC News publication is available on the CDPH/WIC WIC Card website. And don't miss the CA WIC News Broadcast on YouTube. For questions, please contact Stephanie Kwong. 
Systems Approaches for Health Communities
This is a free  opportunity for up to 38 of California's Local Health Jurisdiction (LHJ) MCAH programs to obtain a license to participate in Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities. Participants will develop skills to leverage existing programs and data to promote the integration of policy, systems and environmental (PSE) interventions with educational strategies. For interested WIC agencies, contact your MCAH Director. To learn more, download the Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities program summary (PDF). To obtain log-in-information for your LHJ MCAH lead, the LHJ MCAH Coordinator/Director just needs to send contact information (name, title, local health jurisdiction and email address of the lead) to Suzanne Haydu. As a reminder: California MCAH maintains a Systems and Environmental Change toolkit for nutrition, physical activity and breastfeeding. 
Family Outcomes & Childhood Home Visiting Programs
In 2010, Congress authorized the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, and appropriated funding for FY2010-14, with more recent funding through FY2022. The program is administered at the federal level by HRSA and the Administration for Children and Families within DHHS with funding going to the states. The legislation also required an evaluation of the program in its early years, which became the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE). Below are key Findings and Highlights from MIHOPE:There are positive effects of home visiting programs that participated in MIHOPE, and they are generally similar to but somewhat smaller than the average effects found in past studĀ­ies; Differences in effects among the evidence-based home visiting models are generally consistent with the models' focuses. For example, Parents as Teachers produced the largest increase in parental supportiveness and Nurse-Family Partnership produced the largest reduction in emergency department visits for children; Effects on family outcomes do not vary much by family characteristics, suggesting that home visitĀ­ing is not having larger effects for different types of families; Effects were generally consistent across local programs. 
Global Nutrition Policy Report
The World Health Organization has published the "Global Nutrition Policy Review 2016-2017." The review is an analysis of nutrition-related policy environment, coordination mechanisms, available capacities and actions being taken in the WHO Member States. Exclusive breastfeeding is included as a policy environment measure, and further institutionalizing breastfeeding and complementary feeding counseling is included in the section on future work. 
California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

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