JANUARY 25, 2023
Public Health Emergency Declaration Extended into April

Earlier this month HHS extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration into April. WIC waivers that allow for remote services and food package flexibilities are scheduled to expire 90 days after the end of the PHE. Emergency SNAP allotments, which provided additional benefit dollars for recipients, will come to an end on March 1. Medicaid recipients may be required to reapply for coverage beginning April 1, ending nearly 3 years of continuous coverage. Resources to assist participants with re-enrollment can be found here. California plans to end its COVID-19 State of Emergency in February.
USDA Issues Waivers for Benefit Replacement After California Natural Disasters
In the wake of flooding and power outages, on January 23, 2023, USDA has approved a temporary waiver to allow SNAP households in 26 California counties to use their benefits to purchase hot prepared foods. On January 20th, they also authorized mass replacements of benefits to SNAP households in 34 counties impacted by an earthquake.
Updates to the Medi-Cal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and Continuous Coverage Unwinding Operational Plan
On January 13, DHCS updated the Medi-Cal COVID-19 PHE and Continuous Coverage Unwinding Operational Plan to incorporate policy changes as a result of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 enacted on December 29, 2022, and corresponding guidance released from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the form of a CMCS Informational Bulletin on January 5, 2023. The updated plan reflects the delinking of the continuous coverage requirement from the PHE as of April 1, 2023, setting the stage for the resumption of Medi-Cal redeterminations.
The plan is intended to inform the public about DHCS’ approach to return Medi-Cal to a normal state of operations. The plan also includes additional resources, including information about the DHCS Coverage Ambassadors campaign and links to CMS guidance documents.
We're Hiring!

CWA is seeking a new team member to serve as the Administrative Coordinator. We are looking for someone interested in the well‐being of all families in California to be a member of our team. This position provides a sense of accomplishment by supporting the California WIC program through our state association initiatives. You will get to know hundreds of WIC staff and public health partners across California through CWA’s working partnerships. You will work with our small but mighty team where we value a proactive approach to your work, team support, and laughter! This position is in-person in our West Sacramento office. Accepting applications through January 31.
Social Media Toolkit for Food Package Review Public Comment Period

CWA would like to share with you our new social media toolkit to help generate awareness and comments on the US Department of Agriculture's proposed changes to the WIC Food Package. There is about a month left in the public comment submission period, and it is time for WIC staff, WIC participants, stakeholders and community members to weigh in! We hope that your organizations can make use of this and encourage you to share widely with your networks. If you have not commented yet, now is the time; NWA has kindly provided template comments (link below), but it is important to add your own thoughts, in your own words. It can be a little a one sentence or you can share more ideas about the WIC food package. For questions about our toolkit, reach out to Sarah.
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 [email protected]
Join Us at NWA's Annual Policy Conference!

Register today 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 [email protected]. If you are attending, please let Sarah know at [email protected]!
New Data Brief on the Increased WIC Fruit and Vegetable Benefit
New data brief on the WIC cash value benefit increase shows how economic support can translate into nutritional benefits for low-income families with children. Researchers from PHFE WIC, the UC Nutrition Institute and UC Davis found that increasing the WIC fruit and vegetable benefit resulted in large increases to both the amount and variety of produce purchased.

Expanded Child Tax Credit Improved Mental Health
Low-income people reported fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression after receiving the expanded child tax credit, according to a new study. Adults of Black, Hispanic, and other racial and ethnic backgrounds demonstrated greater reductions in anxiety symptoms compared to non-Hispanic White adults.

COVID Infection During Pregnancy Increases Maternal, Neonatal Risks
Being infected with COVID-19 at any time during pregnancy was associated with greater risks for maternal death, severe maternal morbidity and neonatal morbidity, according to the findings of an international meta-analysis.

State Department Prohibits Breast Pumps in Some U.S. Embassies
Diplomats who are nursing have been arbitrarily blocked from bringing electric breast pumps into some U.S. embassies around the world, sparking internal blowback at the State Department and criticism that it has fallen far behind the times on accommodating working parents.

Nearly 19 Million US Adults May Have Long COVID
The results of a population-based survey suggest that nearly 19 million U.S. adults may have long COVID, with some reporting symptoms more than 12 months after their initial infection. Risk factors included being female, having comorbidities, and not being boosted.

Military Parents Now Eligible for 12 Weeks of Family Leave
All military parents are eligible for 12 weeks of family leave following the birth or adoption of a child as of Jan. 1. Signed into law last December, the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act required that all of the services provide paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers, giving the military branches until the end of this year to make the changes.

Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being
Shout out to the US Surgeon General on this thoughtful and extensive resource for implementing and supporting sustainable workplace mental health and well-being.
CEO Action for Racial Equity Racial Equity Implementation Framework

Affordable Connectivity Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service: Consumer Outreach Toolkit

Benefits Data Trust: Data Sharing to Build Effective and Efficient Benefits Systems: A Playbook for State and Local Agencies.You can also check out their blog addressing related issues.

Oral Health
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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