FEBRUARY 7, 2023
Public Health Emergency Declaration to End in May, USDA Issues New Waivers

Last week, the White House announced that the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration will end on May 11. This announcement means that WIC waivers under the PHE, including flexibilities in physical presence requirements, will expire on August 9, 2023. USDA then announced a new round of waivers to allow for remote certification and recertification of participants while establishing a 60-day window for the collection of anthropometric data. NWA will be working with State agencies to transition to these new physical presence and remote benefit issuance waivers, which will be available through at least September 30, 2026. 
USDA Proposes School Meal Revisions
On Friday, USDA announced new nutrition standards for school meals, building on the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and aiming to improve child health outcomes through better nutrition. If adopted, the new science-based standards will limit added sugars and sodium in school meals and improve access to whole grains. FNS will be accepting public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days, beginning today, February 7. 
Submit Your Food Package Comment Today!
There are only two weeks left to weigh in on the proposed changes to the WIC food package! The USDA is accepting public comments on proposed changes that would expand value, variety, and choice of healthy foods for participants. Make your voice heard today by submitting a comment. NWA has helpfully provided template comments, but it's important to add your own words as well. Help us spread the word with CWA's social media toolkit!
Call for Submissions!

Twice a year, CWA publishes the WIC Watch - a magazine for WIC staff, partner organizations, and any folks interested in all things WIC! We welcome your story submissions for our Spring issue, the deadline is February 24th. We want to hear about your WIC events, your partnerships, your wellness initiatives, your client or staff success stories, and more!
Stories should be 300-500 words and pictures should be high-resolution jpegs. Please submit stories to sdiaz@calwic.org
Join Us at NWA's Annual Policy Conference!

There is still time to register for NWA's National Policy Conference! The National Policy Conference is NWA’s annual forum to highlight emerging WIC policy issues and build leadership skills to empower and sustain WIC advocacy at the local level. Join with California colleagues to experience this empowering, and easy, opportunity to talk with your members Congress - they need to hear from you, especially those who are new to office! Conference sessions will take place on February 21-23 and we will kick off Congressional visits on Friday, February 24. This year the conference will take place virtually. If you have any questions please contact confsupport@nwica.org. If you are attending, please let Sarah know at sdiaz@calwic.org!
San Francisco's Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax Reduces Consumption
San Francisco’s sugar sweetened beverage tax is working as intended, according to a new study Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages declined by 34% in San Francisco in the first two years after implementation of a soda tax on January 1st, 2018, in the areas studied.

ACA Enrollment Hits Record Numbers
A record number of Americans — 16.3 million — signed up for health insurance through Affordable Care Act Marketplaces in 2023. According to a press release from HHS, since President Biden took office, the number of people who signed up for a health care plan through HealthCare.gov has jumped by nearly 50%.

Maternal Mortality Rates Jumped From 2019 to 2020; Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist
All-cause maternal mortality rates increased nearly 30% in the United States from 2019 to 2020, with racial and ethnic disparities evident across the board, according to the results of a research letter published in JAMA Network Open.

COVID-19 Vaccines, Boosters Keep Kids out of the ER
COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots go a long way toward keeping children ages 5 to 11 suffering from respiratory illness out of emergency departments and urgent care centers, according to a new study.

Black History Month, Nutrition, and Wellness
This Black History Month, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is highlighting the roles food insecurity and nutrition have on common health disparities faced by Black and African American communities, such as increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and maternal and infant mortality. Visit their page to learn more about policies, programs, and practices focused on advancing health equity and improving health outcomes for Black and African American communities.
Early Childhood Education Enrollment Survey
A group of graduate students at the University of Southern California is conducting a parent survey for a project in partnership with Head Start California–a nonprofit organization that serves Head Start programs in California–and they need your help! Parents and guardians are invited to complete the survey to help the research team learn more about how parents and guardians in California choose early childhood education programs. Data collected from this study will help early education advocates better serve parents and guardians in California, and data will also inform marketing and awareness campaigns at Head Start California.
The survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete and is for parents and guardians living in California with at least one child aged ten or younger. Parents and guardians who complete the survey will be eligible to enter a raffle for a chance to win one (1) of three $100 gift cards. All survey questions are anonymous and do not ask for personally identifiable information.
If you are a parent or guardian in California with at least one young child, please fill out the survey today! If you know anyone else that may be interested in participating in this anonymous survey, please share the link or QR code.
Oral Health
February is Children's Oral Health Month! Tooth decay is a common but often preventable problem. Untreated tooth decay is progressive and can undermine children’s long-term health, educational achievements, self image, and overall success. Good news: WIC Can Help promote oral health for families by referring them to low-cost or free services.
Support CWA online!
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!
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