CWA Flash E-Newsletter - February 13, 2018
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Tax Season
Working families may be eligible for tax credits worth thousands of dollars, especially here in California with  the state EITC  - and free help filing their taxes - even if they did not earn enough in 2017 to owe income tax!  Check out the interactive tool from CA Budget and Policy Project to see how low-earning families and individuals can benefit from the state and federal EITC. See our  February WIC Can Help  info and referrals to help WIC households this tax season.
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Friends are Good for your Health!
With Valentine's Day this week, you might be thinking about those you love. According to a new study , a common friendship pattern-of focusing on quantity when we're younger and on quality as we enter middle age- may have health benefits , so take your next opportunity to call up your friends!
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Federal Funding: Fifth CR & Trump Budget
Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) last week to extend government funding through March 23. This is the fifth temporary measure since the fiscal year began on October 1, 2017; however, Congress aims to pass a long-term omnibus spending agreement that will provide funding for the remainder of FY 2018 within the next few weeks. The CR includes a two-year raise of the budget caps for both defense and domestic spending, a ten-year extension for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), two-year extension for community health centers, and five-year extension for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). The CR was attached to a larger two-year budget deal which also included a $90 billion disaster relief package for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, $14 million of which was requested by the National WIC Association for WIC infrastructure repairs following the devastation of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Trump's administration also released their FY19 budget blueprint including border security and an infrastructure plan. Along with tax cuts and unrealistic economic growth projections, this plan extends the federal deficit into record-setting trillions of dollars. Budget cuts focus on non-defense discretionary programs while budget increases focus on defense spending. Local and state governments can expect lower federal support and increased local spending for programs and infrastructure.
WIC Budget Proposal
The latest figures for the proposed WIC FY 2019 budget, a net of $5.54 billion, includes a rescission of $215 million of unspent funds. This should be adequate to cover caseload, predicted to decline to 6.9 million participants in FY 2019. Factors impacting participation include an improved economy over the last decade, but also a hostile immigration environment that can hamper participation. WIC's long history of outstanding cost containment measures contributes to the budget projection, although food costs are predicted to increase slightly. Budget set-asides for FY 2019 include $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors and $13.9 million for infrastructure, which is also expected for FY 2018, but a $10 million cut to $5 million for program evaluation in FY 2019. National WIC Association will advocate for full funding of $90 million for breastfeeding peer counselors and $25 million for program evaluation. ACTION: You play a role in protecting WIC funding! Invite your state and local decision makers for a visit to your WIC agency and assist them in understanding the important difference WIC makes for young families, children's start in life and local communities. CWA's Ambassador Toolkit can help you do this!
Farm Bill and CalFresh: Fight for #Food4All
With the Farm Bill set to expire in 2018, reauthorization hearings will be closely watched, especially with SNAP benefits being targeted for potential benefits reductions and proposed damaging changes , including proposed USDA food boxes in place of shopping benefits. California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) and partners are calling on California's congressional delegation to fight for #Food4All and protect CalFresh from cuts or structural changes. Through their Congressional District fact sheets, CFPA seeks to highlight the importance of preserving and strengthening CalFresh, which has wide-ranging positive impacts for children, families, seniors and the economies in every corner of our state. ACTION:  Access the Farm Bill Fact Sheets , sign up to receive Farm Bill updates and find your
congressional district and Representative . Questions? Contact Kevin Lee at 213.482.8200 ext. 202.
Public Charge Concerns in Leaked Documents
The Dept. of Homeland Security's draft regulations, recently leaked to the press, propose drastic changes to the definition of public charge. Currently programs that provide cash assistance or government-funded long term care are included in public charge. Under the draft regulations a number of other programs including WIC, SNAP, Head Start, housing assistance and CHIP would be included. While the regulations would not apply to those with permanent status seeking citizenship, they would apply to many legal residents, including services their children may use,   prohibiting them from obtaining legal status, such as a green card. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a draft and will need to go through the Office of Management and Budget and a public comment period. ACTION: Review this resource from National Immigration Law Center, expect potential rule-making in the next few months and be ready to comment. NWA will track this and advise on action for local and state programs.  In the meantime, please send any related stories or questions to Brian Dittmeier at

CWA News
Spring Conference Updates
With 10 weeks to go before we meet in San Diego April 29-May 2, the  CWA Annual Conference & Trade Show   is on target to be another outstanding opportunity for learning, networking and professional development. In a few words: exemplary agenda, engaging trade show, community-building meetings, challenging and fun activities, competitive teamwork, and new twists. Remember CWA Go from 2017? We'll host another  Photo Scavenger Hunt, this year with an eWIC theme!  ACTION: Check the Conference webpage for frequent updates. Send in your  Local Agency Sharing  information to reserve your table.  Register online  by February 23rd to take advantage of early bird prices!
TeleWIC: Keeping Up With the Times
Incorporating technology into WIC services is gaining ground as local and state programs work to address the needs of young mothers and their families, including their expectations of how they receive WIC services. Texting, EBT cards, new MIS systems are examples of new ways to manage WIC operations and services. In addition to the very important in-person services WIC provides, videoconferencing with participants can be another useful option. CWA is pleased to release as part of our Engaging Families initiative, TeleWIC: Keeping Up with the Times, an issue brief that introduces the basic concepts of videoconferencing in WIC, describes different models of use, and provides lessons, challenges and opportunities. Be sure to check out the workshop at our annual conference , TeleWIC: Using Technology to Connect Families with WIC Services, including use of videoconferencing for certifications in the Georgia WIC Program.

Our Top News Picks
Flu Season Taking a Toll on Kids
The current flu season is still getting worse, according to CDC officials , and it's particularly dangerous for children, with a nationwide death toll this season for children at 53. Officials say that the latest tracking data indicate flu activity is still high and widespread, with hospitalization rates the highest since the CDC started tracking in 2010. Regarding the deaths of children from the flu, only about 20 percent of those children who died had been vaccinated. Even though this year's vaccination is not very effective, health officials say it still offers some protection. And they say it's not too late to get vaccinated.
Chile Wages War on Obesity
Three-quarters of Chilean adults are overweight or obese, and their child obesity rates are among the world's highest, with over half of 6-year-old children overweight or obese. To combat their skyrocketing rates of obesity, Chile is waging war on unhealthy foods with marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules that nutrition experts say are the world's most aggressive. Facets of the recent food marketing reform laws include prohibition of the sale of junk foods in Chilean schools, a ban on advertisement of such products during television programs or on websites aimed at young audiences, a ban on marketing of infant formula, an 18 percent tax on sugary beverages, and a new labeling system that requires packaged food companies to prominently display black warning on items high in sugar, salt, calories or saturated fat. Although experts say it could take years to significantly modify the way people eat, food companies have been voluntarily modifying their products to avoid displaying the logos; more than 20 percent of all products sold in Chile, have been reformulated in response to the law.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome More Common Than Previously Thought
Rates of fetal alcohol syndrome may be higher  in the United States than previously thought, according to a new study , which estimates alcohol-related disorders among American children are at least as common as autism. Based on evaluation of about 3,000 school-aged children and interviews with their mothers, researchers conservatively estimate that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders affect 1.1 to 5 percent of children in the country, up to five times previous estimates. Critical experts point out that the data in the study is difficult to interpret, as only 60 percent of eligible families in the schools allowed their children to be evaluated and more than a third of those children's mothers declined to answer questions about drinking during pregnancy. Recently health authorities in the United States have sharpened warnings about alcohol in pregnancy. A 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics report said  "no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe"  during any trimester. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noting that half of American pregnancies are unplanned, recommended that sexually active women who are not using birth control  "not drink alcohol at all." Need resources to educate your staff and clients? Visit CWA's WIC Can Help/WIC Puede Ayudar Campaign.

CDC Brief on Prenatal WIC Participation
The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics has published a data brief titled " Maternal Characteristics of Prenatal WIC Receipt in the United States, 2016 ." In 2016, all states and the District of Columbia reported data on maternal receipt of WIC food during pregnancy. The brief shows that nearly 40 percent of women who gave birth in 2016 received prenatal WIC foods, but rates for prenatal WIC receipt vary by state, maternal age, race and education. The brief will be followed by a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Paid Family Leave Advocacy Toolkit
ZERO TO THREE has launched their paid family leave advocacy toolkit to support community members' advocacy efforts around paid family leave. The virtual toolkit includes a fact sheet featuring policy recommendations, talking points, graphics, and a sample op-ed for easy adaptation and submission to local media.

California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

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