CWA Flash E-Newsletter - September 6, 2019
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September: Affordable Housing  
  Affordable housing provides more than just shelter. It can positively impact child development, education, mental and physical health, and other social and economic factors. This month, WIC Can Help by referring families to local resources for rental assistance, subsidized housing, foreclosure prevention, and other ways to keep a roof over their heads. 
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Food Safety  
September is National Food Safety Education Month, a great time to for a refresher on ways to promote safe food handling and prevent foodborne illnesses. While it's important to practice safe food handling habits all year, this observance provides an opportunity to spend time reviewing, and emphasizing the importance of food safety principles at work, at home, and with participants. 
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Proposal to Eliminate Streamlined Eligibility for Cash Aid and SNAP Could Hurt School Lunch Access 
A Trump administration proposal  to add restrictions to SNAP is raising concerns that low-income students could lose access to free school meals, although the effect may not be immediate, because the National School Lunch Program's Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) designation is good for four years, so those who just entered the program would have a few years before having to reapply. As part of CEP, schools and districts can offer free meals if at least 40% of their students live in families who participate in SNAP or receive other public assistance. The Trump administration aims to eliminate automatic eligibility for SNAP for families that receive TANF and replace it such that a family would have to receive at least $50 a month in TANF cash or non-cash benefits for at least six months in order to be eligible for SNAP. 
Bill to Improve Maternal Healthcare in Rural Areas 
Senators Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Doug Jones (AL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Tina Smith (MN) have introduced the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services Act (S. 2373). Also known as the Rural MOMS Act, the bill would take initial steps toward understanding the root causes of maternal mortality and morbidity and developing solutions to improve maternal care in rural America. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Petition to End Separation of Families 
MomsRising has launched an online action tool titled "Babies need to be with their moms!" Individuals can sign the petition in support of ending the separation and incarceration of families, especially the separation of infants and their breastfeeding mothers, immediately.
State Legislative Update
As we come to the end of the legislative season, it's a mixed bag for CWA-supported bills. Unfortunately, AB 526 (Petrie-Norris) - WIC Enrollment Gateway Path to Medi-Cal - was held under submission in the Senate Appropriations Committee. On the positive front, SB 142 (Wiener) related to workplace lactation accommodation is still moving forward! Two paid family leave measures were already addressed as part of the State Budget process. For updates on all CWA-supported bills, check out the Bill Monitor Report. ACTION: Stay tuned when we ask for letters of support as the Governor makes the final decision on bills.
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California WIC Card and WIC WISE Rollout
Congratulations to our state and local WIC staff, and business partners, as California moved from the pilot phase to Wave 1, of 10, for statewide rollout of California WIC EBT cards and the WIC WISE platform. It truly was a Labor Day weekend, as final details were checked and double checked. On Tuesday, participants in 21 agencies, from the Bay Area to the Oregon border, began receiving their beautiful WIC card, pin number, shopping instructions and WIC app. Focused, dedicated, excited, anxious, patient, hard-working, and passionate are some descriptors of this team effort. Big shout out to participants who were understanding of the stress and complexities of this huge transition and confirmed to staff that the cards were most welcomed- and beautiful! It is a new day for shopping and doing business for WIC benefits. ACTION: Watch this video update on the CA rollout. Share it with partners. Spread the word!
Put WIC on the Map!
Since we won't be having a Fall conference this year, we are trying something new for Capitol Visit Day. We, and that includes you, will be Putting WIC on the Map. Starting with a webinar on Sept. 17th  at 9am, we will provide information on how to make visits with local, state and federal representatives and  urging you to visit a local, state or federal representative in your community that day, following the webinar! Send us a picture of your visit! You will be kicking off Put WIC on the Map
campaign with visits up and down the state with our elected officials. They need to know what WIC provides and what is new at WIC, like the new card, for starters! It is up to you to let your community know the good things that are happening in your agency, and this is a great time to share some news! ACTION: Register for the webinar!
Our Top News Picks
Soft Drinks Linked to Increased Risk of Premature Death
Consumption of soft drinks, whether they're sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners, may raise the risk of premature death, new research suggests. A study that followed more than 400,000 European adults for more than 16 years, the risk of premature death was heightened in those who consumed 2 or more glasses per day of soft drinks. Researchers say that since the study is observational, the soft drinks may be one indication of a lower-quality diet, rather than being solely responsible for premature death. Those who consumed two or more glasses of sugar sweetened soft drinks per day were 8% more likely to die early compared to those who drank less than a glass a month and those who consumed two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day were 26% more likely to die prematurely compared to those who drank less than a glass per month. 
Preemies More Likely to be Sent Home With Breastmilk 
More preterm infants are being discharged from the hospital with human milk for supplemental feedings if their mothers don't produce enough milk to meet their nutritional needs. Breast milk can help prevent infections and neurological problems, but parents who give birth early may have a challenging time breastfeeding initially for a variety of reasons. Researchers examined data on 346,248 mothers and their very low birthweight preemies born at 802 hospitals nationwide from 2008 to 2017. Over the decade, the proportion of tiny preemies discharged with human milk to drink increased from 44% to 52%. Human milk provision was higher in western and northeastern states than elsewhere in the country, and was more common with multiple births. Asian mothers got human milk at discharge more often than white women, while this happened less often among black, Hispanic, and Native American mothers. 
Connection Between "Disadvantaged" Neighborhoods, Obesity 
A new study adds to the body of evidence that children growing up in "disadvantaged" neighborhoods are nearly one-third more likely to face obesity as adults. Researchers say that disadvantaged neighborhoods include a number of variables, including the percentage of residents who live in poverty, who are unemployed or who earned bachelor's degrees, and that a neighborhood's influence is particularly high among teens. According to the study, the chance of experiencing obesity in adulthood is 16% greater among children up to age 10 who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and 29% greater for adolescents age 11 to 18.  Overall, the odds rose 31%. Policymakers could use this data to craft neighborhood-based interventions - such as redevelopment plans that include building more playgrounds or improving accessibility to healthier foods - and target that adolescent age group.
Streamlining WIC Certifications Report
In addition to the exciting work across the nation to complete transition of WIC to EBT cards, states and local agencies are working on other improved ways to do business. Be sure to check out Streamlining and Modernizing WIC Enrollment from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a collaboration with National WIC Association and Altarum. Working with cohorts of state programs and local agencies, streamlining and innovations were tested and evaluated to address recruitment and retention. This work continues- so look for more to come. Be sure to check out the results from SDSU WIC, San Diego, in this report and  shout out to CA Dept of Public Health WIC Program and Community Medical Centers WIC, Stockton, involved in the work underway now. 
TeleWIC - Lots to Learn
Interest is spreading on the use of videoconferencing for WIC services. We all have a lot to learn about the technology, service models and how it might work for WIC. Other industries, such as health care, have been using the technology. Health Resources Services Administration, HRSA, has addressed the needs of various populations, including rural communities, through teleconferencing. We can learn from their resources and take advantage of their learning opportunities. Visit their website, or attend this webinar Leveraging Academic Excellence to Advance Telehealth Knowledge. 
Sept. 15-21: National Obesity Care Week
The fifth annual National Obesity Care Week aims to improve access to comprehensive obesity care for individuals affected by obesity. On Sept. 20, the Academy will participate in an advocacy day for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. 
Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit
The Global Breastfeeding Collective has released "Tools for the Seven Policy Actions." The Collective's "Call to Action" lists seven key actions to increase political commitment for breastfeeding, with a section for each action in the Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit. Recognizing that no one breastfeeds alone, the Call to Action asks implementers and donors from governments, philanthropies, international organizations, and civil society to prioritize breastfeeding and ensure that nothing comes between mothers and their ability to give their children the best start in life through breastfeeding. 
CA Budget Project Labor Day Report
A number of factors at the federal level are creating a steady stream of news stories about the economy, employment and labor. What does it mean for California? We hear an increasing number of stories of lack of opportunity and disparity. Just released, California's Workers are Increasingly Locked Out of the State's Prosperity, from California Budget Center, describes factors impacting wages for mid and low-wage workers. Another recent commentary on California's economic trends describes the ominous shift to a two-tier society. 
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CDC Report on Black Breastfeeding Rates
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published "Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration Among U.S. Infants Born in 2015" as part of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report concludes that among infants who had initiated breastfeeding, differences between black infants and white infants in breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months were lowered, but still persistent. Researchers add that increasing rates of breastfeeding initiation and supporting continuation of breastfeeding among black women might help reduce disparities in breastfeeding duration. Strategies might include improving peer and family support, access to evidence-based maternity care, and employment support.  
California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

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