After observing the challenges of accessing donor human milk, Reps Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) introduced HR 9196 to improve this critical supply of human milk. The act focuses on four areas of improvement: It would allow state agencies to use WIC funding to promote the need for and benefits of donor milk and allows WIC funds to support donor milk activities in states; It would provide emergency capacity funding ($3 million) for milk banks; It would create a donor milk awareness program at the Department of Health and Human Services ($1 million) and expand an existing CDC education public education program on donor milk and nonprofit milk banks; It wouldrequire the Secretary of HHS, through the FDA, to issue a rule clarifying the regulatory status of donor milk provided by nonprofit milk banks.
Efforts to improve WIC participation and modernization will be funded through a USDA20 million dollar grant awarded to FRAC, UnidosUS, the Native American Agricultural Fund and the Gretchen Swanson Nutrition Center. In early 2023 requests for proposals will be available through this grant to community-based organizations, WIC state and local agencies, and other nonprofits to develop and implement innovative outreach strategies to increase WIC participation and retention.
Child Tax Credit Urged
As Congress debates corporate year end tax breaks, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is urging for a renewal of the child tax credit that expired in 2021. During 2020 and 2021, multiple measures including the American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit, were put in place to address child poverty. The poverty rate dropped to 5.2%, from 9.7%. It is estimated the poverty rate would have only dropped to 8.1% without the American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit, meaning 2.1 million children would have been left in poverty. Congress has an opportunity to renew the child tax credit and use an effective measure to address child poverty and hunger (see news pick below). With other economic measures to address the impact of COVID also expired, this opportunity is even more critical.
CA’s Public Health Workforce
A widely circulated news story shared some of the difficult challenges facing our public health workforce. Recent funding will help in some ways, but the problems have been developing for many years. This report published in 2019, by the CA Future Health Workforce Commission, looked at the problem and provided recommendations. The workforce for WIC is also challenged with recruitment and retention, due to a number of factors. CWA is conducting listening sessions now and studying the challenges and opportunities to highlight the needs and provide recommendations.
House Select Subcommittee Releases Findings on Paid Sick Days During Pandemic
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a report, America's Pandemic Workforce: Persistent Structural Inequities Harm Workers and Threaten Future Crisis Response. Based on data from 12 Fortune 500 companies, the report documents inequitable access to paid leave and worse employment outcomes for workers lacking paid sick days, along with other findings about older workers and lack of adequate data collection. The Select Subcommittee made three recommendations based on the report: that inequitable employment outcomes must be addressed; that workers and employers would benefit from national, universal paid sick leave and paid family and caregiving leave programs; and that the EEOC should begin the process to collect additional data to enforce anti-discrimination laws. Read the full report here.
Get Out The Vote!
There is just one week until California's November election. It's important that you vote! This is a Gubernatorial election as well as several state offices, nearly 30 state legislators, and multiple members of Congress! Make sure you are registered and get answers to your questions here!
Register Now: Human Lactation in the LGBT Community
The first session in the Human Lactation in the LGBT Community webinar series is right around the corner. Please join us for Inclusive Language & Supportive Practices on Wednesday, November 9, from 1:00 – 2:30 pm. Read more about our speakers, download a flier to share with colleagues, or register by visiting our WIC Works Webinars page.
CWA’s Conference Planning Committee is meeting weekly to put together a fabulous virtual conference for 2023. They are reviewing session proposals as they come in, as well as reflecting on 2022 evaluations and considering feedback from agencies on what WIC employees and community partners would like to see. The deadline to submit a session proposal is Friday, November 18. You can read more about the upcoming conference and apply by visiting the 2023 CWA Virtual Conference & Tradeshow page. Attendees love to hear from their colleagues and truly learn from best practices, they enjoy wellness activities lead by WIC staff or community partners, and they love to hear from WIC participants. If you have ideas about speakers/panels, session topics, wellness breaks, or tradeshow vendors, please let Jodi know at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an iterative, committee-run process, so feel free to share your ideas. And please Save the Date for April 11-14, 2023.
Abbott Plans New $500 Million Infant Formula Facility
In October, Abbott Nutrition announced plans to construct a new $500 million plant to produce specialty and metabolic infant formulas. Infant formula shortages were extremely challenging for families in need of the specialty and metabolic formulas, which were largely produced at Abbott’s Sturgis, MI facility.
Pfizer Says Maternal RSV Vaccine Prevents Severe Infection in Infants
Pfizer announced today its experimental respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine was found effective for preventing severe infections in infants after being given in a late-stage study to expectant mothers in the second half of pregnancy. RSV hospitalizations have reached concerning levels recently, causing some areas to declare a state of emergency.
Eviction was associated with increased odds of poor health in children and their parents, according to a study published in Pediatrics. Children who were forced to move in the past 5 years were more likely to be in fair or poor health, at developmental risk, and also more likely to have been admitted to the hospital from the ED.
Child Hunger Spiked in Weeks After Child Tax Credits Repealed
Child tax credits had a huge impact in U.S. households that struggle to afford food.
And after those credits ended, many low-income American families with children had trouble getting enough to eat. Food insufficiency increased substantially, by about 25%, between January and July after the Child Tax Credit payments stopped on Jan. 15, 2022. Black families, Hispanic families, and Indigenous and immigrant families were especially hard hit, according to researchers from Boston University School of Public Health and Boston Medical Center.
Children 6 Months and Over Are Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines
Only 4% of children under 5 years of age in California have completed their COVID-19 vaccination primary series. We need your help spreading the word that children 6 months and older are recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccines for best protection against severe COVID-19 disease.
COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. Please ask parents and caregivers to talk to their child’s doctor about COVID-19 vaccines for their little ones. By simply asking, “Did you know children 6 months and older can now get COVID-19 vaccines?,” you are helping them feel more confident about getting their children vaccinated. You may also choose to share that you and your loved ones are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.
Even if a child has been infected with COVID-19 in the past, the COVID-19 vaccine is still very helpful at keeping their immunity strong. Children under 5 years of age are recommended to complete their primary series against COVID-19 for best protection. In addition to the primary series, ages 5 years and older are also recommended to get the updated booster. It is safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster at the same time as other recommended vaccines, such as flu vaccine.
Thank you in advance for taking a few seconds to show your support for COVID-19 vaccines each time you meet with WIC participants and recommending they speak to their doctor about COVID-19 vaccines.
Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth: Implicit Bias and Reproductive Justice Training for Perinatal Providers
It is a startling fact Black birthing people are currently four to six times as likely to die from pregnancy and birth-related causes and twice as likely to suffer a maternal morbidity — such as hemorrhage and infection — than those of other racial and ethnic groups. These variations cannot be explained away by age, income, educational level, or health insurance status. Evidence points to implicit bias and racism, not race, as key causes of disparities in maternity care and maternal outcomes for Black birthing people. Implicit biases can affect the way we see other people, even if we don’t believe the stereotype and it goes against our personal values. To help advance Black maternal health outcomes and learn what you can do to interrupt racial bias, please join your colleagues in taking this free, evidence-based e-learning course, developed with support from the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF). Questions or willing to share how your organization is using the training? Please reach out to Beccah Rothschild.
Grants and Funding
Knowing where to look for new financial opportunities and grant proposals are of central importance if your organization depends on grant money to operate. Fortunately, there are many free resources you can use to find applications and opportunities, some of which will even send you alerts. Check our WIC Can Help page to find opportunities that fit your agency’s needs to apply and receive the appropriate funding and grants.
As a nonprofit membership organization, CWA relies on the contributions of many organizations and individuals to help us achieve our mission. There are many ways to give of your time, talents, or resources to help CWA promote healthy families, strong communities, and bright futures! We appreciate all forms of support and invite you to join us!